I am a big fan of crockpot cooking. It’s easy and there’s always leftovers, and I can make killer soups in it to boot (soups are my favorite!).
Mine cracked. This awesome cherry red crockpot I received as a wedding gift finally cracked after 10 years of use, albeit most heavily in the past five years. I’d been dreaming about getting an Instant Pot because of all of its functions. (My how dreams change.) It received impeccable reviews on Amazon. It slow cooks! It pressure cooks! It cooks rice extra special! It sautés! It steams.
You get the idea.
But it was expensive so I deferred the decision knowing my trusty old crockpot gets very little use in the summer.
Then, one of my evil best friends emailed me. Her crockpot had just died. Had I ever heard about the Instant Pot? She wanted one and it was the Deal of the Day on Amazon for half price!!!
Fate had intervened. She and I promptly acquired ourselves an Instant Pot each.
We both planned to try out recipes this weekend in our prized new appliance. We were to swap success stories on Monday. I sifted through a dozen recipes and settled on this as an entrée for Saturday dinner: Mexican black beans and rice with chicken enchiladas.
The plan was to multi-task the Instant Pot. First, Saturday morning before the birthday parties began, I would use the pot to slow cook the beans and rice all day. Then, around five, I would extract the delectable beans and rice, and use the pot to pressure cook the chicken and THEN to saute the vegetables with the chicken after the pressure cook cycle. That’s right. THREE USES – ONE MEAL! I’d gone on a grocery shopping spree Friday night and soaked the black beans overnight.
I mixed my ingredients after an errand this morning and set the timer to seven hours and thirty minutes. Off I went. Day’s work to be done and children to chauffeur around Houston.
At 5:11, despite there being time left on the timer, I decided to extract the beans and begin my chicken. The pot was stone cold. The ingredients, including the rice and beans which had been sitting in water for seven hours, were stone cold. I reconsulted my owner’s manual which I had read before beginning my endeavor. Apparently… the timer I had set was the DELAY timer. So in about AN HOUR my “slow cooker” would turn ON! Agggghhh. This was a substantive side dish I needed for my meal.
No fear, my mother advised. It’s a pressure cooker too, dear. We’ll just eat a little later. Pressure cook the beans. How long could it possibly take?
Turns out, it takes just a half hour. So just before 5:30, I sent the dish to pressure cook. It said ON in red on the display for some time and steam began shooting out the top so surely all was well. A half hour passed. It hadn’t shut off. I still had to pressure cook my chicken for the enchiladas!!! I consulted the owner’s manual again. It says when this magical pot is pressure cooking the display will count down the time left, BUT when it displays “on” the pressure cooker is PREHEATING! What is the purpose of pressure cooking if it takes a year to PREHEAT!?!?!?!?!
Just about the manual consultation time, the display switched to 30, and I realized it had just begun the pressure cooking. It’s after 6. We usually eat a little after 6. Mom advises again, it’s okay. You are going to have to sauté the chicken dear. You aren’t going to have time to pressure cook it too.
Dejectedly, I got my large sauté pan, combined all the pressure cooker ingredients and began to cook large chicken breasts stove top. At nearly the time the pressure cooker went off, the chicken was almost ready to go into the corn tortillas and into the oven for the enchiladas to begin baking.
As I start slopping the guts of the enchiladas, I also “rapid depressure” my pressure cooker. I stay clear of the steam as it shoots out like a firework, and ask the kids to clear the table because surely we’re not that far from dinner now. I counsel my mother not to remind the eldest it’s nearly 7 pm because the whole reason she came over is to watch the Texans play AT 7 PM!!!
I open the Instant Pot.
Instant muck is what it was.
You cannot pressure cook white rice with black beans. You. Can. Not.
It was disgusting.
Mom and the little lady made out over how delightful the flavor was despite it being the consistency of gruel from little orphan Annie’s dinner.
The enchiladas came out of the oven.
Also, their flavor was delicious (I agreed with them on this one), but the meat was a little tough. WELL NO KIDDING! It was supposed to be shredded chicken cooked beautifully in my pressure cooker. The enchiladas were eaten. The black beans and rice gruel was not. Bray actually couldn’t stop himself from laughing the second he saw it on his plate. Honest man.
Instant Pot – 2, Gindi – 0; the Instant Pot won.
This is where our first Instant Pot meal ended up.
Don’t cry for me Argentina. The truth is, this isn’t my first mishap…