At this time in my life, I have the time to cook anything my heart desires. But for my grown children and their busy families, meal time often produces guilt for not having the time to prepare fast, healthy, and delicious meals.
I decided to create a few recipes for busy families such as this, using an Instant Pot! I heard so much about slow cookers, but even the name doesn’t ring a practical bell. My family needs to have something Fast, not Slow!
So, what is an Instant Pot? How does it compare with a slow cooker/crock pot? An Instant Pot is really just a pressure cooker with lots of convenient bells and whistles! Ingredients go into the pot, just as you would a slow cooker, except in less than an hour the meal is cooked and ready to serve, rather than sitting on your counter cooking All day while you are out and about. That thought worried me. But something else troubled me about the slow cookers. Common sense should tell us that a slow cooker takes several hours to reach a safe, bacteria-killing temperature for meat, particularly pork or poultry. The last thing I want is a delicious barbeque slow-cooked pork in which I will have tummy troubles for several days following!
While living in Brazil, I became familiar with the Panela, the pressure cooker. Everyone owned one, rich or poor, and every morning you would hear the hissing of the controlled steam escaping through the little wooden ball that danced around, like a wild samba dancer, on the top of the pan. Beans and rice were always cooked in these pots. Not instant par-cooked rice, or canned beans, but the REAL stuff! There was something comforting about the smell and sound. It made you think about the attention that would be given to a healthy meal you knew you could look forward to. I found the exact same morning ritual when I stayed in a home in Calabria Italy.
Shredded chicken was also used in a variety of popular Brazilian dishes and the best way to cook it fast, and keep it moist, was in the pressure cooker.
Now, I own an Instant Pot, and for me it has all the safety resolves for fast heat and the elimination of bacteria, the moist requirements a slow cooker provides, a saute feature for flavorful braising, and the Speed we are all after in the kitchen for our crazy busy lives!
My first dish to share with you will be a Meat Sauce, a Bolognese sauce to be served over pasta.
Come back again to visit as I will share a Brazilian Shredded Chicken dish with you as well!
- Ground Beef – 1 ½ lb.
- Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
- Onion – 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- Carrot – 4 carrots, finely chopped
- Celery – 4 stalks, finely chopped
- Salt – 2 teaspoons
- Pepper – ½ teaspoon
- Red chili flakes – a pinch
- Garlic – 3 cloves, mashed
- Basil – ½ cup roughly chopped
- Ground fennel – 2 teaspoons, (optional, gives the taste of sausage)
- Oregano – 1 teaspoon
- Red wine – ½ cup
- Crushed Tomatoes – 3 cups, fresh tomatoes can be used as well
- Sugar – 1 tablespoon
- Cooked Pasta – 1 lb. or enough for 8
- Pecorino Cheese – ½ cup, grated
Set Instant Pot to Saute.
Place oil in pot. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Saute until onions soften.
Add meat and spices and cook until meat browns. Deglaze with wine. Cook for 15 minutes until wine is reduced. Stir in tomatoes and sugar. Close the lid. Press ‘Cancel’ then ‘Manual or Pressure Cook’ and cook for 35 minutes.
Press cancel. Carefully release the pressure, and unlock the top when ready to serve.
Serve over Pasta with grated Pecorino Cheese, or use as a topping on pizza dough!
The pot used in Brazil in every kitchen, often over FIRE!
Having the right tools and ingredients at your fingertips takes much of the work out of cooking. For your convenience, Whisk and Dine has done a little shopping for you. Think of us as your personal shopper (wink). The best products for the most reasonable price!