The One Thing That Finally Got Me Excited About the Instant Pot

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(Image credit: Christine Han)

It finally happened—I am obsessed with my Instant Pot. In the past four days I’ve made six dishes in it, and I can’t stop. I’m about to pressure cook everything in the house that isn’t nailed down.

The One Recipe That Got Me Hooked on the Instant Pot

I admit that I was a late adopter to the Instant Pot. I got one a few months ago and made rice and lentil soup. Honestly, it just wasn’t super exciting (dear reader, is lentil soup ever that exciting?). So, I went out of town for a couple months and I forgot all about it.

Then I passed a jar of preserved lemons in the grocery store that reminded me of one of my favorite recipes for a Moroccan chicken tagine with preserved lemons and green olives. It’s bright and salty and flavorful, but I haven’t made it in at least three-and-a-half years.

Back then, before the baby, my husband and I used to spend a lot more time cooking. We probably made the same number of dishes, but the ones we chose took a lot longer than the things we cook now. We’d make big, complicated dishes that simmered for hours. We’d cook them when we got home from work and not care if we were eating dinner at 10:30, or we’d make them on the weekend and make a whole day of the shopping, cooking, and eating. That sort of thing doesn’t mesh very well with our toddler’s schedule, so we don’t do it anymore. It sure was tasty, though.

I looked at the lemons and thought about my Instant Pot at home. “I bet it’d be good at this.”

I used a lemon and green olive chicken recipe from the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cookbook. It’s not exactly like my old recipe, but it’s similar, and I’m still new to the Instant Pot, so I wanted to use a recipe that had been designed and tested for that machine and had very specific instructions about which buttons to push and when to push them.

Try a similar recipe: Instant Pot Lemon Chicken with Green Olives from Sur la Table

You guys, it was fantastic. The chicken was moist and flavorful, and completely cooked through in 10 minutes of pressure cooking. My favorite “I love it, but it takes too long to cook” recipe took less than half an hour. I was immediately obsessed.

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My New Instant Pot Journey

Fresh off the success of the lemon chicken, I started thinking of all the other “special occasion” meals we never make anymore, like the doro wot spicy Ethiopian chicken stew and misir wot spicy Ethiopian lentil stew from Saveur, and Julia Child’s beef bourguignon.

I am an excitable person by nature, but I might have gotten a little carried away. This weekend I made five full Instant Pot meals in two days. It sounds like a lot, but it didn’t actually take that long (because duh, that’s why the IP is so great). I bagged and labeled all the leftovers, and suddenly I’m one of those people with a well-stocked drawer of make-ahead freezer meals.

Clearly more recipes were called for. I ordered Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant, which is full of recipes like beef bourguignon, osso buco, and duck confit, and Urvashi Pitre’s Indian Instant Pot Cookbook. My favorite thing to order at an Indian restaurant is chickpeas with spinach, so I made her palak paneer recipe and swapped the cheese for chickpeas. It was gorgeous, and my husband loves this cookbook so much he carried it off to work with him and says he’s going to cook everything in it, Julie and Julia-style.

On Prime Day, I bought another Instant Pot cooking insert, so I can make two things without having to stop and clean the pot, because that was really slowing me down.

I’m completely obsessed with my Instant Pot now. It deserves all the hype and more. This thing is the best.

What’s your favorite thing to cook in the Instant Pot?

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The Recipe That Finally Got Me Excited About the Instant Pot