The Essential Instant Pot

Fri, Mar 9 from 6pm - 8:30pm

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The highly versatile, multi-functional Instant Pot has become the object of affection for a growing contingent of home cooks. For many people living in small apartments, or those who have limited food preparation space, it has become the perfect appliance.

Although it can be a slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker, Dutch oven and more, its most valued feature is its pressure-cooking ability. It doesn’t matter if you’re Paleo, vegan or an old-school carnivore, this single appliance can help you quickly create healthy, delicious meals at home.

The concept of pressure cooking dates back to late-1600s France, says Chef Kevin Appleton, the food and beverage program director at Madison College’s School of Professional and Continuing Education. More than 300 years later, the science behind the pressure-cooking process remains the same — but the Instant Pot’s computerization allows for a wider range of options and more control over how your food cooks and tastes.

As an enthusiastic fan of the Instant Pot, Chef Kevin will share the skills you need to be successful with your own Instant Pot in classes exclusively for Isthmus.com readers. On March 9 at the Madison College West Campus, 8017 Excelsior Drive, Appleton will plug in a half-dozen Instant Pots and guide students as they cook meats, starches, grains, vegetables and other foods using the appliance. And, of course, everyone eats at the end. Space is limited, so register early.

In the meantime, Chef Kevin offers these five tips for Instant Pot users:

1.    Find a cookbook that fits your lifestyle, cooking habits and food preferences. That may take time, but the search is worth the effort.

2.    After following a recipe the first time, keep notes for future preparation of that dish and make minor adjustments until it tastes just right.

3.    Chop all ingredients as evenly as possible, and follow a recipe’s thickness requirements for cuts of meat. This helps ensure food is correctly and evenly cooked.

4.    Double-check all settings (including the vent, pressure setting and cooking time). One incorrect move could doom your dish.

5.    Taste! Taste! Taste! Sample the cooking liquid or food at every opportunity and make desired adjustments.  

Chef Kevin cautions that multi-cookers themselves are not magic. But if you’re armed with a solid understanding of how to best use your appliance, have recipes that appeal to you and a spirit of cooking adventure, the results can be magical!

In our next installment, we’ll explore the process of fermenting food and beverages. Until then, enjoy cooking with your Instant Pot!

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Madison College Professional and Continuing Education runs a wide variety of classes that are open to the public.


Madison College West Campus

8017 Excelsior Drive
Madison, WI 53717

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