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Instant Pot lemon chicken and potatoes is the weeknight stew you need

I hate the expression “dump dinners.” Every time I hear it, I recoil because it sounds so unappetizing to me. And, yet, I’m so drawn to the concept: Put all of the ingredients in a baking dish, on a sheet pan or in a Dutch oven, skillet or multicooker, and then step away while it cooks.

Even if the vessel changes from recipe to recipe, I prefer to call this one-pot cooking, if that’s okay with y’all.

Get the recipe: Instant Pot Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

I’ve never fully embraced the slow-cooker function on my multicooker, but I make frequent use of its pressure-cooker function for one-pot, weeknight suppers, especially when the weather starts to turn cool and I want something convenient, cozy and saucy without the wait.

I’m a big fan of the bright flavor of lemon as the days grow shorter, too, so this Lemon Chicken With Potatoes from “Instant Pot Miracle Mediterranean Diet” by Urvashi Pitre sounded just right for welcoming autumn.

Along with lemon juice, a whole lemon — peel and all — is thinly sliced and added to the multicooker with the chicken, broth and seasoning. The potatoes are added last to keep them on top and prevent them from overcooking. The result is a luscious stew with a thin broth that has a slight pleasantly bitter note from the lemon pith. The cooked lemon calls to mind preserved lemons, but without the extra step, Pitre writes in her cookbook. (If you want a richer sauce, she says to remove the chicken, potatoes and lemon and whisk in a bit of butter.)

In her cookbook, Pitre extols the virtue of eating a Mediterranean diet, and she writes about how her Instant Pot helps her continue to cook even while dealing with a degenerative disease that can limit her mobility.

The cookbook is a good one for the multicooker novice because she offers insights into Instant Pot terms — quick release vs. natural release, for example — and descriptions of what all the buttons do. She also gives general tips for using a multicooker:

  • Factor the time it takes for a pot to come up to pressure into your cooking equation, keeping in mind that a fuller pot takes longer to reach pressure.
  • Don’t worry about browning proteins and vegetables. She says that pressure cooking delivers flavor without that step. (This is a hard one for me to give up because I like the look of browned meats, but I did as she instructed with this chicken dish and it was delicious.)
  • Consider using frozen vegetables. This slows the cooking so that you don’t end up with mush.

Each recipe offers active time and total time, the functions you will use, and the kind of release you will use for the dish.

I tried several of her recipes. Each worked just as she described. I chose to feature this one because I liked it best among the ones I made, and because it is was a good belly-warming recipe for any novice cook who wants to dip a spoon into one-pot cooking using a multicooker.

How to convert your favorite recipes for the Instant Pot

The recipe takes 15 to 20 minutes to prep; the rest of the time — about 25 minutes — is hands-off. That gives you enough time to clean up the kitchen, chill an albariño, maybe slice up a cucumber salad and make a quick dressing if you feel like it.

Or, you could just go pet the cat and call your sister for a quick catch-up like I did.

Get the recipe: Instant Pot Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

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