The Instant Pot is a 7-in-1 multi-cooker: it’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice maker, steamer, sauté pan, food warmer and yoghurt maker! No wonder it has captured the imagination of SA’s top bloggers. These foodies have come up with a range of inspiring winter dishes that you can recreate in your own Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot is available from R2 199 at Yuppiechef, @homeFaithful to Nature and online.

Get started with this introduction to the Instant Pot:

From starters to dessert, you can whip up an entire meal in a single pot! Here are some of our favourites:

Starter

The Food Fox (Ilse van der Merwe)

Clear roast chicken broth

Recipe by: The Food Fox (Ilse van der Merwe)

Notes:
  • This broth can safely be made overnight with no stress about anything boiling over on your stovetop. You can also pressure-cook the broth if you want it to be ready sooner and by using the Delay Start timer, you can run it while you’re at work and come home to a bone broth or stock that’s ready to use.
  • You can also use a whole raw chicken for this recipe and shred the tender slow-cooked meat afterwards for a bulked-up meaty alternative. Sprinkle with roughly chopped parsley.

Ingredients:

  • 1 deboned rotisserie/roast chicken carcass, with pan juices
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 kale leaf (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 large knob fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthways
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3L water
  • salt, to taste
  • soy sauce and fresh sliced ginger, for serving (optional)
  • fresh herbs or edible flowers, for serving (optional)

Method:

1 Place the chicken bones, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, ginger, lemon, peppercorns, bay leaves, star anise and cinnamon in the Instant Pot and add 3L of water. Cover with the lid, select the Slow Cook function and set the timer for 12 hours. After a few seconds, you’ll hear a soft beep and the timer will start. 

2 Leave it to cook until the timer goes off then leave it to cool in the pot. Strain through a regular metal sieve, then season generously with salt.

3 You might find that the broth needs a lot of salt. If you’re using preserved ginger for serving, you can also add a few teaspoons of the preserving ginger liquid for added sweetness. Serve warm in cups or bowls with a dash of soy sauce and more ginger.

Store any leftover broth covered in the fridge for up to five days (it freezes well too).

Main course

Drizzle & Dip (Sam Linsell)

Lamb shanks with red wine, rosemary and bay leaves

Recipe by: Drizzle & Dip (Sam Linsell)

Time: 75 minutes, with only 50 minutes of pressure-cooking time

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 lamb shanks (approx. 1.2 – 1.6kg)
  • 4–6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary (approx. 15cm long)
  • 4–6 fresh bay leaves
  • olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup (250ml) red wine
  • 1 tin of chopped and peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250ml) beef stock
  • 1 ½ tbsp finely chopped parsley (about 15gms)

Method:

You can either marinate the lamb shanks in the garlic, rosemary, bay leaves and olive oil overnight, or make this straight up. The flavour really penetrates the meat overnight, so this is first prize.

1 Rub the lamb shanks with olive oil and the crushed garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Lay these on a small tray lined with half the rosemary and bay leaves. Top with the remainder of the rosemary and bay leaves, cover tightly with cling film and leave them in the fridge overnight. 

2 When you are ready to cook, scrape all the herbs and garlic off the shanks. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté and add a splash of olive oil. When it’s hot, brown the shanks in two batches on all sides, turning the meat as you go. As an alternative, brown the meat in a large frying pan. Once brown, remove the shanks (set aside) and drain off the fat in the bowl.

3 Keeping the Instant Pot set to Sauté, add the onions, carrot and celery and cook until softened – about 6–8 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent them from going brown. Add the tomato paste, crushed garlic (either scraped off the overnight marinade or what you have crushed) and bay leaves and cook for about a minute. When it starts to stick, add the red wine and deglaze the bowl. Allow this to cook down for about 6 minutes until it has reduced by ¾.

4 Add the tomatoes, mix and adjust the seasoning. You will need to add a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the rosemary stalks and chopped parsley.

5 Add the browned lamb shanks back in along with the stock. Arrange them so that they are as submerged in the liquid as possible.

6 Close and set the vent to SEAL.

7 Set the Instant Pot to Manual pressure cook HIGH (take off the keep warm function) and set it for 50 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is complete, allow a natural pressure release which will take around 20 minutes. You will know the pressure has released when the valve has dropped back into the lid of the pot.

8 Remove the lamb shanks and set aside; keep them warm by covering them with foil. Drain the liquid from the Instant Pot bowl into another large bowl using a sieve. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. A layer of fat will start forming on the surface. Allow a couple of minutes until you can see it has separated from the juices. Either use a fat separator or, alternatively, place a sheet of kitchen paper over the top to absorb this fat layer. Quickly remove and discard. Depending on how fatty the meat is, you will probably need to repeat this 3 more times (a total of 4 x sheets of paper). 

9 When you think you have removed most of the fat, pour the cooking juices back into the Instant Pot and set to Sauté. Cook the juices down for 10–12 minutes until they have reduced and thickened slightly. Pour this gravy generously over the shanks when you serve. Serve with mashed potato and any green side you like.

Cook’s Notes:

The recipe has been speeded up to fit into a one-minute video; due to time constraints and also because it isn’t at all pretty, the process of removing the fat is not included. Lamb is very fatty and despite rendering some of this off in the browning stage, a lot is released during the cooking stage. In the recipe below, I include my best fat-removing hack and how I get rid of it in my food styling. After straining the sauce, allow it to settle a bit and then use a paper towel to lift off excess fat.

Dessert

Suné Esterhuizen

Peppermint Crisp cheesecake

We adjusted blogger This Old Gal’s recipe for a pressure-cooker cheesecake. It tastes even better the following day! Click here for the original recipe.

1 Prepare the crust 

Line a spring-form cake pan with baking paper and spray well with non-stick spray. Mix the biscuit crumbs with the butter and spread evenly on the bottom of the cake pan. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

2 Prepare the filling

Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, flour and cream together until smooth. Add the eggs and egg yolk and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate. Pour the batter into the crust and smooth out the top.

3 Now for the cooking:

- Pour 250ml water into the Instant Pot’s inner pot. Cover the cheesecake with a double layer of foil and place it on the trivet with the handles facing upwards; lower carefully into the pot.

- Close the lid tightly and make sure the pressure valve is set to “Seal”.

- Click on the “Pressure Cook” button and then set the timer for 38 minutes. After a short while, the Instant Pot will switch on by itself and the screen will show that it is on.

- The pot must now build up steam and once it is ready, the silver float valve will rise and the timer on the screen will start counting down.

- Once the cooking time is up, it will make a beeping sound. The pot must now release steam. Wait 20 minutes (cheesecake usually cools overnight in the oven).

- Turn the pressure valve from “Seal” to “Venting” to release any remaining steam. Be very careful that you don’t burn yourself! The lid will remain closed until all the steam has been released. Keep an eye on the float valve until it drops down again.

4 Remove

Remove the cheesecake from the Instant Pot’s water bath and remove the foil carefully. It is normal for the surface to wobble but it should definitely not be runny. If there is condensation on the surface, gently pat dry with some paper towel. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

5 Ta-da! 

Melt the sour cream and chocolate, pour over the cold cheesecake and garnish as desired.

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7 reasons why we love Instant Pot.