America’s Test Kitchen’s Latest Cookbook Solves Your Instant Pot Woes
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Instant Pot tips and beginner recipes for multipurpose cookers will only take you so far; at some point it’s time to turn to experts like America’s Test Kitchen and its new cookbook Multicooker Perfection ($23). What’s unique about this book is that every single recipe is actually tested for both pressure cooker AND slow cooker settings, so you can play with simmering things low and slow all day or lickety-split on a busy evenings. In addition to a plethora of recipe ideas, the experts review all the multicookers on the market. Spoiler: Instant Pot isn’t the top contender…
Of all the recipes in the book, we think these two comfort food classics deserve a spot in your weekly rotation: steel-cut oatmeal and chicken noodle soup. Chances are you know how to cook these items on the stovetop, but mastering the art of slow-cooking and pressure-cooking them is a whole other ballgame. ATK did all the hard work for you and has troubleshooted the measurements, settings, and times. All you have to do is gather the ingredients and press a few buttons.
Pressure Cook Total Time: 45 minutes
Slow Cook Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Why this recipe works: We love the chewy texture and fuller flavor of steel-cut oats, but careful monitoring for 40 minutes of stovetop simmering makes them a nonstarter on busy mornings. The multicooker made the process mostly hands-off and guaranteed creamy, hearty steel-cut oatmeal. We first toasted the oats in butter using the sauté function, which brought out their nutty flavor and took only a couple of minutes. Then, we locked on the lid and let the oats pressure or slow cook to tenderness. A bit of salt added to the cooking liquid seasoned them nicely. At the end of cooking, the oats were perfectly chewy, but our oatmeal was on the thin side and much too hot to eat. Letting the oatmeal sit for 10 minutes before serving solved both problems: The porridge thickened to a pleasantly thick consistency as it cooled. This oatmeal reheats well, so we could easily serve it again later in the week. Serve with your favorite toppings such as brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, dried fruit, and nuts.
1. Using highest sauté or browning function, melt butter in multicooker. Add oats and cook, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and salt.
2A. To Pressure Cook: Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 1 minute. Turn off multicooker and let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick-release any remaining pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
2B. To Slow Cook: Lock lid in place and open pressure release valve. Select low slow cook function and cook until oats are softened and thickened, 1 to 2 hours. (If using Instant Pot, select high slow cook function.) Turn off multicooker and carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
3. Stir oatmeal to recombine. Remove insert from multicooker and let oatmeal cool for 10 minutes. If necessary, adjust consistency with extra hot water. Serve. (Oatmeal can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat oatmeal in microwave or in saucepan over medium-low heat; stir often and adjust consistency with hot water as needed.)
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
(Serves 6 to 8)
Pressure Cook Total Time: 1 hour
Slow Cook Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Why this recipe works: With its velvety broth and deep, comforting flavor, old-fashioned chicken noodle soup is a perfect candidate for the multicooker: You can’t beat the sheer convenience, and the closed environment is ideal for extracting tons of flavor and body-building gelatin from the meat, skin, and bones of a whole chicken, whether through high-heat pressure cooking or long slow cooking. We started by using the sauté function to brown our aromatics; tomato paste and soy sauce boosted the savory flavor of our soup. We found we didn’t need to spend time cutting up the chicken—we could put the whole chicken right in the pot. We made sure to place the chicken breast side up: The multicooker heats from the bottom, so positioning the chicken this way exposed the dark meat thighs to more direct heat and shielded the delicate breast meat from overcooking. Once cooked, the tender meat practically fell off the bones, making it easy to shred and stir back in. Rather than lugging out a second pot to cook the noodles, we simply used the sauté function to simmer the noodles right in the broth. We prefer to use wide egg noodles in this soup, but thin egg noodles can be substituted; thin egg noodles will have a shorter cooking time in step 4. Cook the noodles just before serving to keep them from overcooking and turning mushy.
1. Using highest sauté or browning function, heat oil in multicooker until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 6 cups water, carrots, celery, and soy sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place breast side up in multicooker.
2A. To Pressure Cook: Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off multicooker and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
2B. To Slow Cook: Lock lid in place and open pressure release valve. Select low slow cook function and cook until chicken is tender, 2 to 3 hours. (If using Instant Pot, select high slow cook function.) Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
3. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks; discard skin and bones.
4. Meanwhile, stir remaining 2 cups water into soup. If necessary, cook using highest sauté or browning function until vegetables are just tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in noodles and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn off multicooker. Stir in chicken and let sit until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup With Orzo, Green Beans, and Peas: Substitute 1 leek, white and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly, for onion; 3/4 cup orzo for egg noodles; and 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon for parsley. Stir 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1‑inch lengths, into soup with orzo. Stir 1/2 cup thawed frozen peas into soup with shredded chicken.
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup WithShells, Tomatoes, and Zucchini: Substitute 1 cup small pasta shells for egg noodles, and chopped fresh basil for parsley. Stir 1 chopped tomato and 1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, into soup with pasta.
For more recipe inspo, follow Brit + Co on Pinterest.
(Photos and recipes via America’s Test Kitchen)