Instant Pot cooking in my homesteading kitchen was not something I expected to be doing. Not with an off the grid alternative energy system that is for certain. Using heating appliances like stoves, irons, dryers, toaster ovens, etc. has always been a no no. Uses too much power when you are limited depending on the size of your system. The amount of sun available affects it too. My husband mentioned that he thought we could start using some electric appliances for cooking. Now we had more power to use so I was eager to try it. My friend, Dawna started talking about her new Instant Pot. She told of the various meals she was making and how fast it was. Made me have to check it out. Reviews on Amazon were impressive. I wanted to buy one! I did.
The main thing for anyone living off the grid with their own solar, wind or hydro system is to keep an eye on your meter. The meter tells how much power is coming into and going out of your system. Our system has a diversion load charge controller that diverts the power to other uses if our batteries are full. Since we replaced our lead acid batteries with Battle Born LiFePO4 lithium ion batteries, our system is always being diverted. That means we have more power to use! What better way to use it than cooking your food? Cooking for free is what my husband says. I have added a few new electrical appliances to my kitchen since. A blender and an induction cook top (which is like a modern hot plate), as well as the Instant Pot.
Yesterday I decided to cook chicken in the Instant Pot. Now this post is not really a recipe post. I don’t use a recipe to cook in the Instant Pot when cooking something as basic as chicken or some kind of meat. All I did was to wash the chicken and season it. I was cooking chicken thighs and breasts. I cooked them separately because the thighs need to cook longer. My husband favors the chicken breasts. I prefer the thighs, especially since I follow a Ketogenic food plan. I wanted the skin to be crunchy crisp. Not easy to do that in a pressure cooker or the Instant Pot. I tried it but was not able to make it come out that way. For now, this will do. It was good.
I season my chicken with garlic powder, Himalayan salt, fresh ground black pepper and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle Seasoning. I add salt to my foods because eating the Keto diet, I need more salt. You can just omit that. At times I add grated cheese to chicken cooked in the oven. Since this was in a pressure cooker, I did not. Whatever types of seasonings you like you can put on it. As I said, this is not a recipe post so whatever sounds good to you.
I began with the thighs, washed and seasoned them. I heated bacon grease in a cast iron griddle on the gas stove and browned them a few minutes on each side. They can be browned in the inner pot of the Instant Pot, but I find it too small to do a good job. I prefer browning meats on the cast iron griddle. They seem to brown better with a nice crust on them. It will hold four big pieces of meat on it at the same time. That saves me a lot of time.
I had eight thighs and as each one finished I put them into the Instant Pot inner pot. Added about a cup of water and closed it up. I set the timer to 9 minutes and using the manual setting set the pressure to high. That was it. I got to work on washing and seasoning the four chicken breast needed for the next pot. I know it sounds like a lot of food for two people, but I like to have it all cooked and in the refrigerator for a few days ahead.
I can see how handy it would be to have a second inner pot. I plan on buying one very soon. I could have put the first inner pot with the cooked chicken directly in my thermal cooker to keep hot without having to transfer it to another pot. When it was done and the cover had released, I put it in the thermal cooker inner pot and closed it up. That will keep it steaming hot until we sat down to eat. Now I added the browned chicken breasts to the inner pot. Set the timer for 6 minutes. While it cooked, I prepared our vegetables so everything would be ready when the timer went off. It was.
Even though I was not able to cook the chicken so it had crunchy crispy skin, it came out really tasty and soft. It fell off the bone. It would have been perfect for chicken and dumplings or biscuits but I don’t eat those anymore. I am planning on trying a few low carb ketogenic dumplings and biscuit recipes and see what I come up with. I know I need to cook with the Instant Pot as much as possible to utilize our free electric cooking power. My long term goal for many years now has been to turn off the propane for good. Now that day looks like it is in the near future.
Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole