It was nerve-wracking having friends over for the first meal in our Instant Pot, a cast-off gift meant for Mom. The gizmo comes with a story, as does our new Swiss pressure cooker, a Kuhn Rikon we got at a kitchen shop in St. Louis.
Originally we went there to buy our daughters an after-Christmas gift we couldn’t find in December, our youngest daughter opting out of an Instant Pot for a drone. That’s our Katie.
No one had Instant Pots, other than the small ones. But at the kitchen shop we were shown a Kuhn Rikon stovetop pressure cooker the staff uses for cooking classes.
I was sold — and I was in a hurry, patience not my forte, I wanted to experiment with a pressure cooker. I’d been hearing about how much safer the new ones are compared to the model Mom used, a pot that blew its stack years back. Modern pressure cookers, and the all-in-one Instant Pots are safer.
After buying the Kuhn Rikon, we went by Williams-Sonoma to see if any Instant Pots had come in — our timing was perfect. They’d just gotten a shipment, and we made our purchase.
Got Her Excited Too
For days, I’d been telling Mom about the new pressure cookers, and she seemed interested so when I happened on an Instant Pot in town, I picked it up. We unpacked the complicated-looking monster, setting it on her countertop where it took up prime real estate. But it did a great job on the mashed potatoes we fixed.
The glory of the gadget faded fast. Mom decided the Instant Pot wasn’t for her, and I ended up with two pressure cookers. The Instant Pot went with us to Florida, while the Kuhn Rikon sat at home, its shimmering sides shaking with grief that it hadn’t been invited along.
It was my intention to leave the Instant Pot there so others could use it at Mom’s condo, but I’d grown attached because I read an article that made the new-fangled pot appealing. It stressed that all you really need to know about the pot’s confusing-looking buttons is to use “manual” and “+” and “-to set the cooking time.
Beef Was Brilliant
The article also cautioned users not to overlook the time required for the Instant Pot to reach the pressure it needs to cook. This varies, depending on what you’re fixing. On Saturday night, I made my first pot roast in the Instant Pot — a 3 1/3 pounder too big to sauté in the Instant Pot, so I browned it in the Kuhn Rikon.
When my friends arrived, I was nervous. I’d previously released the pressure but had no idea what we’d find when I removed the lid. It took the Instant Pot 25 minutes to reach the required pressure and another 65 minutes to cook — wowsie fast. The yummy-looking roast sat atop potatoes, carrots, celery and onion, bathed in a concoction of beef broth and red wine. The flavor was amazing, and the roast fell apart, it was so tender. I made gravy with the drippings I added to the browned beef bits in the Kuhn Rikon — sheer perfection.
Had to Decide
On Sunday, I put the Instant Pot to the supreme test — seeing how it worked with hardboiled eggs, my nemesis. I put six farm-fresh eggs on the rack in the pot, added a cup of water, hit five minutes manual, and cooled them in ice water. The shells slipped off like they’d been waxed. I had the same success with eggs in the Kuhn Rikon.
Overall the biggest plus with the Instant Pot is that it doesn’t have to be watched as it comes to pressure like other stovetop pressure cookers. But it does have a couple of drawbacks. Even though I have a 6-quarter, and it sautés, the Instant Pot demands using another pot to brown if a roast is over a couple of pounds. The Kuhn Rikon is plenty big to brown and can be used as a regular pot.
Another negative with the Instant Pot is that the seal inside the lid retains the smell of what you’ve cooked. This isn’t really a deal breaker because the seals are sold in lots of places and are inexpensive.
Experimentation over, one of the pots has got to go; I don’t need two. While I love the Instant Pot, in reality the only thing it will do that my Kuhn Rikon won’t is slow cook, and I’ve got a Crock-Pot for that. So the cast-off-again Instant Pot is going to Katie; she’s pretty happy, after hearing me drone on about its merits.
Being a traditionalist, I’m putting all of my eggs in the Kuhn Rikon.