I find it fascinating that food goes through fads.
You know, like first everybody uses butter and then suddenly butter becomes a faux pas and you should only use margarine and then if you use margarine you are basically trying to kill your whole family and then everyone needs a zoodle maker.
Or something like that.
And have you read this article about the history of Jell-O? It’s super interesting.
All that’s neither here nor there…what I really mean to talk about is what seems to be the current cooking trend: Electric Pressure Cookers.
I was first introduced to EPCs (can I? It’s so much easier) a couple of years ago. A coworker brought hers in and, while singing its praise, made everyone lunch. After lunch we were singing praises to the EPC as well, but a look at the cost made me think that I could keep on keeping on without one.
But a few months later my poor CrockPot died. Not died died. The ceramic pot developed a crack that I tried to ignore but it just got worse and worse until I had to throw in the towel. It was a sad day, but it opened up my opportunity to buy an EPC-which also has the function of a slow cooker.
After lots and lots of research I ended up getting the Instant Pot 6 in 1 Programmable Pressure Cooker (at the time it was like 20 or 30 dollars cheaper than the 7 in 1…but that’s no longer the case).
Here are some things I love about my EPC:
- Probably one of the most talked about things is that they cook things really really fast. And it’s true. It’s pretty fast. However, I feel like I need to add a note to this. While recipes claim that your dinner will be cooked in 6 minutes, that’s only partially true. It doesn’t take into account any prep work, time for sauteing, time for heating up, or time for letting your pressure cooker release its pressure (whether it’s released naturally or manually). All those things add up and while it still gets your dinner cooked quickly, it’s not quite 6 minutes quick.
- The pot is stainless steel which means it won’t suffer the same fate as my CrockPot. Plus it’s way lighter and super easy to clean. That alone makes me want to stick to EPCs forever and always.
- My Instant Pot doubles as a slow cooker. One less small kitchen appliance to have to store.
- It also has a Saute function, which seriously rocks. I can do a whole meal only using that one pot.
- All the cooking is timed and as soon as it’s done cooking, it will automatically stop cooking and turn onto warm. I can be out and about and not have to worry about turning it off (it’s also supposed to have some sort of anti-burning capability…and I’ve never burned anything in mine so it must work).
- I’ve never used this particular function, but apparently you can also set it up to start cooking at a certain time. While I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable cooking everything like this, I think it would be nice if I was working full time again to be able to set it in the morning to start cooking in, say, 7 hours so that I could come home to a fresh, hot meal.
Here are some things that are not my fave:
- My Instant Pot boasts 6 different functions, but in reality, I only use 3 of those-Manual, Saute, and Slow-Cook. I don’t hate that…I guess it’s just unnecessary hype?
- It seems that my lid, no matter how many times I wash it, will forever and always smell like the last thing I cooked in it.
- Another complaint about my lid is that it does not hinge. I know you can buy EPCs that have a hinged lid, buy mine doesn’t. Which means that when I’m cooking I have to find a place to put the lid, which in my teeny kitchen, really is an issue.
Should you buy an Electric Pressure Cooker?
When I think about recommending an EPC, the cost comes to mind. The prices vary depending on the brand and the model, but pretty much no matter which way you go, it’s expensive. So here’s what I think if you are even remotely interested in getting an Electric Pressure Cooker:
If money is no issue to you, you should get an EPC.
If money is an issue to you, but you are: A) moderately to extremely busy B) a parent C) working full or part time OR D)any combination of those, you should get an EPC.
That covers everyone, right?
I guess I’d highly recommend an EPC to pretty much anyone. Even if the trend ends tomorrow, I still think EPCs are awesome and totally useful.
If you do buy an EPC:
- I love my Instant Pot and would recommend it to anyone. However, you can find cheaper ones for sure, and I bet they are awesome too. If you are set on an Instant Pot (and are the winner of the waiting game), I know that they can go on a crazy sale during Black Friday/Cyber Monday (but who wants to wait that long?)-like 50 or 60 dollars off.
- No matter what brand you get, I would definitely suggest getting one with a Saute function. It turns your EPC from super cool to totallyawesomeloveitloveitloveit status 🙂
- I also totally love this cookbook from Bob Warden. The recipes are straightforward, don’t require any weirdo ingredients, and are delicious. Having that cookbook definitely helps me take full advantage of my EPC. (It works with any Electric Pressure Cooker; it’s not brand specific).
- One of my frying pans has a lid that fits the stainless steel pot of my EPC, so I can just put the whole thing in the fridge. But it doesn’t come with a lid, and while it’s not necessary, it is nice and you can buy one separate.
- The next thing I want to buy for my EPC is a 7 inch springform pan, because you can totally make cheesecake in your EPC. I’ve never done it, but I’ve heard they turn out delish!
And finally, if you’ve got an EPC, here’s one of our very favorite recipes. It’s quick and delicious and I make it all the time:
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
(adapted from Bob Warden’s Great Food Fast)
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 Tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 an onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots (or 2 handfuls baby carrots), chopped
1 1/4 cup wild rice
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Mix flour with salt and pepper and then toss in the cubed chicken to coat. Turn cooker on medium heat to Saute (or Brown) and heat butter until it’s sizzling. Put chicken in cooker and cook until pieces are brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook 1 minute more. Add wild rice and chicken stock and then put on the pressure cooker’s lid. Set the cooker on Manual on high for 12 minutes. Make sure the knob is in the sealed position. When it’s done cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then turn the knob to “venting” and allow the rest of the pressure to release. Remove lid, stir in heavy cream and serve.