Held Thursday night at the at the Millennium Centre auditorium, the event drew a crowd of 300 fans of the versatile, multi-function countertop cooker that does the work of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté pan, browner, warmer and more all rolled into one.
The enthusiastic audience included a sold-out section of 125 VIP ticket holders who, for the $25 price of their seat, each received a complimentary copy of Laurel Randolph’s best-selling “Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook.”
Host David Hyde, events and promotions specialist for the Press, opened the school with a quick survey of how many in room owned an Instant Pot and a majority of hands went up. And in response to Hyde’z follow-up question, “How many have not taken their Instant Pot out of its box?” a surprisingly large number of those hands stayed up.
As the night’s first Instant Pot of eggs boiled and cooled, Chef Anne began the school with a quick review of what’s in the box, including the key to the Instant Pot’s quick cooking — the rubber lid ring that seals in the steam, and the eve- important inner pot, without which she said, no liquid should ever go into the pot.
As many in the audience took notes, she followed up with tips including the wisdom of routinely removing and washing the lid ring, which tends to hold the flavor of spices, and of always using a utensil to safely release the steam.
For the night’s main course Chef Anne and her assistant, Jonathan Marin, quickly tossed together a low country boil with sausage and mini-potatoes that had nearly finished cooking by the time they had the ingredients for a side dish of well-spiced red beans and rice with bell peppers and garlic mixed and ready for their next Instant Pot demonstration.
Available on Amazon for $12.62 per paperback copy, Randolph’s Instant Pot cookbook includes recipes for more than 100 no-fuss meals with low-maintenance recipe guidelines and a table of approximate cook times.
As Chef Anne noted, the internet is also loaded with Instant Pot recipes, including the following from spicysouthernkitchen.com
Instant Pot Low Country Boil
Prep Time, 10 mins.
- 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, on the small side
- 1 14-ounce package smoked sausage, cut in 2-inch pieces
- 3 ears corn, cut in thirds
- 3 teaspoons creole or cajun seasoning, divided
- 1 1/4 pounds medium to large shrimp
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Place potatoes, sausage, and corn in the Instant Pot. Pour in 3 cups of water. Add the liquid shrimp and crab boil and 2 1/2 teaspoons of creole seasoning.
Put lid on Instant Pot and turn valve to "sealing." Set Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 4 minutes. Keep in mind it will take some time for the pressure to build up.
After the 4 minutes, do a quick pressure release. Once the pin drops, remove lid. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/2 teaspoon seasoning and add to Instant Pot. Replace the lid and allow residual heat cook the shrimp for about 3 to 4 minutes with Instant Pot off or on low.
Remove everything from the Instant Pot with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter. If desired, sprinkle on more Creole or Cajun seasoning.
Mix butter and garlic powder and microwave until butter is melted. Serve as a dip.