Instant Pot Meatballs
Ever since I went over to a friend’s house a few months ago and watched her make rice in her pressure cooker in 10 minutes, I have been fascinated with pressure cookers. I told my hubby I wanted one, and I think he thought I might be just on one of my kicks. When we looked at the one my friend Vicki recommended, however, it was so expensive, and that put us off for a while.
Recently, however, I have seen an explosion of posts in my news feed about pressure cookers, and in particular, the electric one called the Instant Pot. In the Feingold group I am a part of, and within my circle of homeschool mom friends, it is all I have been hearing about for the past 4-5 weeks. So I started checking into it, since it was less expensive than the stovetop cooker I had been thinking of, and it was supposedly idiot-proof. That last part was very important because honestly, I used to watch my mom’s pressure cooker with an equal dose of fear and fascination, while the little weight on the top jiggled and hissed for all it was worth. The sounds Mummy’s pressure cooker made during cooking, along with the sound it made when she took the weight off and occasionally put it under the water to release the pressure, were all frightening, and off-putting, to say the least.
I put the Instant Pot on my Christmas list, and sure enough, hubby got it for me. Apart from looking at it to make sure it came with everything it was supposed to, I did not take it out of the box for a few days. It stayed in the kitchen silently mocking me, while I figured out which cookbook I wanted to get. I felt like I had to have a cookbook, because it is such a different way of cooking, and I didn’t want to mess up.
Yesterday, I decided it was time. After having been inside the Instant Pot Community Facebook group for a couple of weeks, and looking at the manual a bit, I was itching to cook something. I still had no cookbook, but I sure wanted to make something. Then I realized that the Instant Pot (IP) was like any other gadget – you need to read the manual, so that you can make the best use of it. Usually, that is not a big deal for me. A little disappointed, I settled in for a read to familiarize myself with my new toy.
A few minutes later, I was ready to take on the “water test”. This is where you put some water into the IP, it comes to pressure, boils it, and then you do the “Quick Release”. With the Quick Release method, as soon as the pressure cooker goes into “Keep Warm” mode, you turn the valve from sealing to venting, and out comes the steam. I truly wish I had done a video of this. I had my older daughter in the kitchen with me, and she jumped so high she almost hit the ceiling (ok, maybe not quite that high, but it sounds good, lol). When that was completed, I had this really silly grin on my face. I had done my first thing – yay!
That evening, I decided it was time to really cook something. So I cubed some sweet potatoes to go with some leftover chicken we had from the day before. I steamed them for 12 minutes, then let the pressure reduce for 10 minutes, then checked them. They needed more time, so I put them back on for another 15 minutes, and they were perfect. Even my 5 year old loved them, which is huge, because she is not a potato fan at all.
The inspiring results made me want to cook something else, like a meal, or at least a main dish. I looked around in the Facebook group for ideas, and saw that someone had made meatballs. I was so excited about the idea that I forgot that meatballs have never been my friend – I historically have had issues making them in the past. As it happened, my friend Vicki and I started messaging on Facebook, and she mentioned she had made porcupine meatballs for dinner in her IP. I asked her to share the recipe, since I had already had my daughter take out the ground beef.
You can see the finished result at the top of this post. We don’t do tomato sauce (or anything with tomatoes) because my little is on the Feingold program, and tomatoes are bad news for her. Instead of the tomato sauce, I used a Worcestershire sauce alternative made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, dark brown sugar, and some seasonings.
The best part about it? My 5 year old pronounced the Instant Pot her favorite pot, because it makes such delicious meatballs, and she waxed on and on about how good the meatballs were. 🙂 The rest of the family loved them, too, and we still have plenty for supper later on. Can’t beat that. 😉