By Mississippi Market Chef Partner Kristin Hamaker of Goosefoot Kitchen
Instant Pot, instant love. Well, not exactly instant love. I stared at or walked past this contraption for a full week after untangling it from its box. That was a year ago. Now, there are days when I’ve used it three times to make steel-cut oats for breakfast (3 minutes – see recipe below), chickpeas for lunch (33 minutes), and overnight chicken stock (60 minutes, but it will hold for 10 hours without flinching).
For those unaware, the Instant Pot is a multi-cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and more, all-in-one. This thing is quite a sore thumb in my kitchen since I use so few gadgets otherwise. I’m the sort to discourage anyone from buying unnecessary kitchen tools. “Use your hands”, I’m always uttering. But, I’ll confess – I couldn’t resist.
I use the Instant Pot almost exclusively for cooking dried beans like navy, pinto, and black beans, and chickpeas. Simply pour in your beans, add water, add a bay leaf or two and a dash of salt, cover, and get on with your day. I always make a big batch and then freeze leftovers in single-size containers, that way, I have them for upcoming dishes. And in the heart of soup season, my Instant Pot gets a lot of exercise making soup stocks, chili and embarrassingly simple, yet delicious Bolognese.
For any level cook, the Instant Pot rocks! It gets my family to the table more quickly and easily, all while producing healthy and frugal fare in the midst. What more can you ask for? A perfect present for anyone with some counter space and a scrappy spirit.
Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats
This simple recipe is a great example of the benefits of cooking with Instant Pot. Steel-cut oats are a whole grain—the most nutrient-packed oat option—and therefore, require a long cooking time to break them down. Before owning a pressure cooker, I couldn’t get my act together to make these during my typical morning flurry. Now, I finish my first cup of coffee, add my ingredients into the cooker, set it for 3 minutes, and let it cook while I get on with my day.
- 1 cup steel-cut oats (head to the co-op’s Bulk department)
- Kosher salt, 1 pinch
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup non-dairy milk, optional
- Other additional options: 1 cinnamon stick; ½ vanilla bean; 1 handful of dried fruit, toasted nuts or seeds; fresh fruit; spices; butter; sea salt; brown sugar; honey, maple syrup or agave syrup
Add 1 cup steel-cut oats, 3 cups water (or 2 cups water + 1 cup non-dairy milk), and a good pinch of kosher salt to your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Add additional items like a cinnamon stick, ½ vanilla bean, or a handful of dried fruit if you like. Lock the lid. Using the Instant Pot “Manual” function, set it for 3 minutes. If you’re unfamiliar with how pressure cookers work, know that they do still take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure, and about 10 minutes to come back down from pressure, on top of the time you’ve set.
When time is up, let the pressure temperature lower naturally. Open the pot carefully and, if you’ve included a cinnamon stick and/or vanilla bean, remove them. Add in any extra additions, such as toasted nuts or seeds, fresh fruit, spices, butter, flaky sea salt, or sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or brown sugar, and stir well. Alternatively, serve the oatmeal plain and allow each eater to dress their own.
Leftover oats refrigerate well for about 4 days and freeze well in individual servings. They can also be incorporated into pancakes, muffins, or breads.