My multicooker adventure continues this week with a trio of recipes to try after you’ve mastered the Instant Pot basics.
In last week’s food section, we covered the initial hiccups you might face and shared some of the first recipes you might want to prepare in a multicooker. After you’ve cooked some beans and rice, maybe steamed a couple of baked potatoes or cooked a beef roast in less time than it takes to finish the nightly news, you might be ready for some other dishes that involve slightly more ingredients or technique.
I’ve already been sharing this shrimp scampi recipe with coworkers, and the green curry recipe could be used with any number of chile pastes and proteins. But the cheesecake recipe, in particular, was a fun discovery.
When I brought the cherry-covered dessert into the office, I was worried that it might be too eggy, or too savory or too pasty. What a delight to take one bite and know that it was a success. With a thick crust and a smooth, dense center, the cheesecake was rich but not heavy. My editor tasted it and said it reminded her of her mother’s cheese pie, a sweet memory of Oklahoma foodways from when she was a kid. One cheesecake-loving reader, who has baked far more cheesecakes in her life than I, said she didn’t like the texture of Instant Pot cheesecakes, but I absolutely loved it.
For this dessert, you’ll need a 7-inch springform pan, which fits in most 6-quart multicookers. That might not be the only multicooker accessory you end up buying. I also picked up a silicone tray designed to bake half a dozen individual-size ham and cheese frittatas or sticky toffee puddings, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.
The Tayama multicooker model that I recently purchased comes with a steaming tray that fits into a lip in the nonstick pot, which allows you to cook two levels of food at once. If yours doesn’t have a similar steaming tray or didn’t come with a steamer or trivet, I’d recommend buying one so you can steam ingredients above the water in the pot.
I’ve had to return my initial batch of Instant Pot cookbooks to the library, but I’ll be picking up books from Barbara Schieving, author of pressurecookingtoday.com, and the Dallas-based Urvashi Pitre, whose butter chicken Instant Pot recipe became so popular on her blog that she’s launched a culinary career from it.
This fall, we’ll see more than a dozen new multicooker cookbooks in bookstores, and though I promise not to bombard you with multicooker recipes, you will see more of them in print and on austin360.com.
Even without any accessories or the newest cookbooks, you’ll be making cauliflower mac and cheese, tortilla soup, pho and maybe even yogurt before you know it in your multicooker, and I want to hear about it. We’d love to hear your best recipes, tips and Instant Pot ideas — email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-912-2504.
Shrimp Scampi With White Wine
In this version of shrimp scampi, a convergence of two similar recipes from Melissa Clark and Laurel Randolph, the shrimp are cooked in garlic and white wine for just 1 minute under pressure; then you’ll remove them from the pot but leave the liquid. It’s a little tricky to strain the liquid into a measuring cup to add just enough water to have 1 1/2 cups, but it’s worth the effort when you taste thin spaghetti cooked under pressure in that savory sauce. This dish comes together quickly, and the pasta absorbs all that flavor after just a few minutes in the multicooker.
Don’t forget to use quick or manual release when letting the steam out of the multicooker in this recipe. Unlike natural release, which allows the steam to slowly let out over 10 or 15 minutes, quick release requires a hand towel or a long utensil to flip the vent open and release the steam in a steady (sometimes loud and spattering) burst.
— Addie Broyles
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel (optional)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine or stock
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
8 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Using the saute function, melt the butter and oil in the pressure cooker. Stir in the fennel, if using, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine or stock, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper and shrimp. Select manual and cook at high pressure for 1 minute. Use a quick release once the shrimp have finished cooking and remove the shrimp from the pot with a slotted spoon. Reserve.
Pour the remaining liquid in a large measuring cup. Add enough water so that the total quantity is 1 1/2 cups. Return the liquid to the pot and add the pasta, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir the pasta to separate the pieces and coat them with liquid.
Place the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Release the pressure manually. Add the shrimp back to the pasta and stir. Season to taste. Serves 4.
Green Chicken Curry With Eggplant
Thai curry paste is an excellent ingredient to keep in your pantry for dishes like this. I’ve made versions of this with the basic ingredients — coconut milk, chicken thighs and Thai curry paste — but this multilayered dish from Laurel Randolph includes additional ginger, garlic and a Thai bird’s eye chile. You could add small pieces of squash or sweet potatoes, which would cook in the same amount of time as the meat and the eggplant.
— Addie Broyles
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coconut or canola oil, divided
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons green Thai curry
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Thai green bird’s eye chile, minced
3 to 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, excess fat removed (about 1 1/2 pounds)
10 ounces Japanese eggplant, large diced (about 2 cups)
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving
In the multicooker, turn on the saute function. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and then saute the onion for 2 minutes. Add curry paste, ginger, garlic and chile and cook, stirring, for one minute. Turn off the multicooker and add the chicken thighs so that they form a layer over the onions. Add the eggplant on top and in between the chicken, and then pour the coconut milk over the top. Season with salt and pepper. Secure the lid. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes and use a natural release.
Once the pressure has released naturally from the pot, tear the chicken into large chunks. Add the sugar and lime juice and stir. Taste for seasoning. Add the cilantro and serve on rice.
— Adapted from “The Instant Pot No-Pressure Cookbook: 100 Low-Stress, High-Flavor Recipes” by Laurel Randolph (St. Martin’s Griffin, $19.99)
New York-Style Cheesecake in a Pressure Cooker
Making a cheesecake — especially in an Instant Pot, where you don’t have to fiddle with making a bain marie setup in your oven — is easy if you remember the most important step: letting the cream cheese come to room temperature, which takes at least a few hours. You should also let your eggs and sour cream come to room temperature before starting to make the batter. If you don’t, you’ll have lumpy or puffy or otherwise weirdly textured cheesecake, which will make you never want to bake it again.
This recipe comes from the genius cooks behind pressurecookrecipes.com, who are on their 17th iteration of the recipe. They are thoroughly detailed in their methodology, which I’ve streamlined and adapted below. You can either make it dense and rich or smooth and creamy, and I chose to make it the former but added instructions to the recipe on how to make it lighter and creamier. They suggest using a hand-held mixer instead of a stand mixer for this recipe because it introduces less air into the batter.
If you’re using a 6-inch pan, increase the cooking time to 31 minutes. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees, but don’t forget that water bath.
— Addie Broyles
10 graham crackers
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the batter:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 pinches sea salt
2/3 cup white sugar
16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
To make the crust, finely grind graham crackers in a food processor. Alternatively, you can place them in a zip-top plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin. In a small mixing bowl, mix graham crackers, a pinch of sea salt and brown sugar. Add melted butter until the mixture sticks together when you pinch it with your fingers.
For best results, line the bottom of a 7-inch springform cheesecake pan with parchment and cut a strip of parchment to line the sides, too. If you have a nonstick springform pan, parchment is not necessary. Press the graham cracker crust into the bottom of the pan, using the back of a spoon or bottom of a measuring cup. At this point, you can freeze the cheesecake pan in the freezer while you make the cheesecake batter, or, for a crisper crust, you can blind-bake it at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
To make the cheesecake batter, mix together cornstarch, two pinches of sea salt and white sugar. In a medium bowl, use a hand-held mixer to briefly beat the room-temperature cream cheese for about 10 to 15 seconds, which will further soften it. Add half the sugar mixture and beat at low speed until just incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the sugar. For a creamier cheesecake, beat for a minute.
Add sour cream and vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until just incorporated, or longer for a creamier cheesecake. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl in between each one. Fold the batter with a silicon spatula and then pour onto the crust in the cheesecake pan. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles, which you can also pop with a toothpick.
To cook the cheesecake, pour 1 cup of cold water in multicooker and place the steamer rack in the pot. Place the cheesecake pan on the rack and close the lid. Cook at high pressure for 26 minutes and let the steam release naturally, which will take about 7 minutes.
Open the multicooker and use a paper towel to absorb any condensation that collects on top of the cheesecake. Leave the cheesecake in the cooker with the lid off and allow to cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled, store the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the fridge about 20 minutes before you’d like to serve it. Release the springform and peel off the parchment paper. Cut into slices and serve with cherry topping, if desired.
— Adapted from a recipe by Amy and Jacky on pressurecookrecipes.com
Fresh Cherry Sauce
You could top your cheesecake with canned cherries, or you could make your own cherry sauce. This recipe from the Washington State Fruit Commission makes a cherry topping sauce that can be swirled into ice cream or used as a pie filling. I’ve included a variation where you make the cherry sauce in the multicooker, too.
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine orange juice, sugar, cherries and orange peel and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the cornstarch and water mixture and continue to simmer until thickened to desired consistency.
To make in an Instant Pot, mix together everything except the cornstarch and water in the multicooker. Manually program the cherries to cook at high pressure for 3 minutes and then, after the beep, let the cherries continue to cook under pressure as the steam naturally releases for 10 minutes. Whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water and combine with the cooked cherries to thicken the sauce. Cool and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature. Serves 8.
— Adapted from a recipe from the Washington State Fruit Commission