To Transform Your Weeknight Cooking, Turn On the Instant Pot

Over time, though, the multicooker became so embedded in the rhythm of my everyday cooking that I never unplugged it. I ended up writing my new cookbook for it, “Dinner in an Instant” (Clarkson Potter), as well as an in-depth guide at NYT Cooking. It was the slow cooker that went into storage, where it will remain until my next stoop sale.

What I especially love about the multicooker is its inherent flexibility, pleasing cooks of all temperaments.

If you’re an organized, plan-ahead type of person, you can use your multicooker exactly like a slow cooker. Just use the slow-cook setting with any of your old favorite slow-cooker recipes without even having to adjust them.

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The ribs are first cooked using the pressure-cooker function, then glazed and broiled in the oven to finish.

Credit
Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Culinary procrastinators, on the other hand, can take full advantage of the pressure setting, which cooks food in minutes instead of hours.

I’m in the latter camp, and so this is my routine: On the way home from work, I stop at the store for some beans or grains or a package of chicken thighs. I throw them into the pot with a mix of interesting seasonings. Then I make a salad while the pot does its thing.

That’s it. A satisfying dish that would normally take an hour or more is on the table in 20 to 30 minutes.

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Coconut curry chicken can be made beginning to end in an hour.

Credit
Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Now earthy soups, supple stews and luscious braises are within reach for winter weeknights, instead of being relegated to weekends when I have hours to let them simmer. In the summer I can quickly cook beans and grains for salads without heating up the kitchen, or steam artichokes without having to stare at a pot on the stove. I don’t even have to be home.

No matter the season, my basic strategy for using my multicooker on weeknights remains constant: I estimate how many minutes I have before I want dinner to be on the table, and work backward from there.

Often, getting my meal done in the shortest amount of time is simply a matter of how you cut up the ingredients — the smaller the pieces, the faster they will cook. So while a whole brisket or boneless pork shoulder might…

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