Did you get an Instant Pot for Christmas? If so, you weren’t alone as it was projected Amazon alone would sell 500,000 of these wonder pots during Black Friday sales.
I resisted purchasing one for a few years, because I just wasn’t convinced it could live up to the hype. However, late last fall I really began to take note of the Instant Pot’s growing popularity and decided to take one for a test drive. So, on cold and dark Friday morning at the end of November, my husband loaded my two-year-old son into our van and headed to Walmart at 5:45 a.m. to pick up not one, two or three, but FOUR Instants pots for me, my sister and two of our friends.
Since that day, I’ve tested a variety of recipes in between batches of cookies, holiday meal prep and cookbook edits. I’ve made soups, stew, chili, pork roast, mac and cheese, shredded chicken for tacos, salads and pizzas. I’ve cooked beans, lentils and chickpeas, and even made mashed potatoes. After many weeks and a few dozen meals I’ve come to this conclusion: It’s a clever machine, and worthy of some of the hype and the space in my kitchen, but it certainly isn’t foolproof.
I’ll dive into more of the inner workings of the Instant Pot in my next post, and share some tips I’ve learned in the past six weeks, but if you’re wondering what to make, or which recipe you should start with, I’d like to point you in the direction of my foolproof chicken soup. It’s easy peasy, super healthy if you’re still on the “New Year, New You” bandwagon (and suitable for most specialty diets other than a vegan or vegetarian one), and if you choose to add noodles it quickly becomes classic comfort food that your kids will want to devour all winter long.
Another added bonus? You can play around with the flavours to suit your tastes. For example, stir in rice instead of pasta, cilantro instead of parsley and add a spoonful of taco seasoning to the pot, too. Or to make a creamy soup, cut back the broth by 1 cup and then stir in 1 cup milk whisked with 1 tablespoon flour after the pasta has cooked. I find a lot of the Instant Pot recipes can easily be turned into another dish altogether, which is one of the benefits of cooking in one.
Are you still fumbling around with a new Instant Pot? Are you an expert? I’d love to know what you’re making, what questions you have and what tips and tricks you’ve employed to make this machine work for you and your family. Leave me a note in the comments so I can get back to you.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
- 2 ½ cups chopped carrots
- 2 ½ cups chopped celery 1 yellow onion, peeled and
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- Optional: 1 ¼ cups orzo or 2 cups egg noodles
Prep and Cook
- 1Put your chicken in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Cover with carrots, celery, onion and broth. Close and lock the lid. Press ‘Manual’ for high pressure and set the cooking time to 15 minutes. Make sure the valve is placed in the ‘Sealing’ position.
- 2When the time is up, quick release the pressure. Shred the chicken with two forks and stir in the peas and parsley. Let sit for 2 minutes or until the peas are heated through. Check the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Serve at once or continue to add pasta.
- 3To add pasta or noodles to the soup, turn the Instant Pot off and then press ‘Sauté’. Bring the soup to a boil, and add the pasta to the pot, stirring. Cook for 4 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot, or until the noddles are cooked through. Serve hot.