Say hello to your new best friend.
The Instant Pot, which originally made its debut in late 2010, has been steadily gaining popularity in the multi-cooker home appliance category because of its speed and ease-of-use. And this holiday season, it seems that the 7-in-1 appliance — slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, rice cooker, yogurt maker, warmer, browner — is on everyone’s wish list.
The multi-cooker is not just hot — it’s smokin’ hot.
Sales of multi-cookers for a 12-month period ending in September were $978 million, according to market research firm NPD Group, an increase of 29 percent. (NPD considers electric pressure cookers, food steamers, fryers, multi-cookers, other cookers, rice cookers, roaster ovens and slow cookers as multi-cookers.)
Instant Pot isn’t the only multi-cooker out on the market. The Crock-pot Express Cooker, Fagor LUX and NuWAve also have similar features.
Pressure cooking is one of the Instant Pot’s highlights, which is where the speed comes in. Pressure cookers cook food under a good amount of pressure in less time than the oven or stove top. For example, a pot roast using 3 pounds of beef chuck takes about 4 hours in the oven. Under pressure, it cooks in just more than an hour. But cooking with pressure cookers of old, made people wary and afraid of the pot exploding — which was common. Pressure cookers these days have better safety mechanisms, and the Instant Pot does too.
Beef Barbacoa Tacos
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced 1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of most fat and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup reduced-salt chicken broth or stock
2 bay leaves
6small (6-inch) corn tortillas
Salsa or pico de gallo
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chipotle, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and cloves.
Press Sauté and use the sauté or adjust button to select highest temperature (“More”). Place vegetable oil in inner pot. Wait until display reads “Hot,” about 5 minutes, then add beef. Cook with lid off, turning the beef every 2 minutes, until the beef is browned on most sides, about 8 minutes.
Add vinegar sauce and chicken broth (be careful — steam may whoosh up!), and then the bay leaves. Stir to combine.
Close and lock lid. Set valve to Sealing. Press Cancel, then press Manual or Pressure Cook and use Pressure or Pressure Level button to select High Pressure. Use the – or + button to set time to 30 minutes.
When cooking cycle ends, press Cancel. Allow appliance to cool and release pressure naturally, about 20 minutes. (Pressure is released when small metal float valve next to pressure-release valve sinks back into lid and lid is no longer locked.)
Remove lid. Discard bay leaves. Remove beef from inner pot to cutting board. Shred beef using two forks.
Serve hot, piled into corn tortillas, topped with salsa and sprinkling of Cotija cheese, if desired. Serves 6.