I finally caved and bought an Instant Pot. I know, I’m very late to the party. While the rest of the world was turning to their trusty Instant Pot during quarantine, I was apparently on another planet. I spent the better part of March, followed by April, May and most of June, wrangling three very active (and often, uncooperative) kids who were stuck at home / homeschool while trying to snag an Instacart order that would arrive in less than two weeks so I could not only feed my family, but satisfy catering orders that, thankfully, continued to roll in. That was fun, for like five minutes.
Fast forward to the end of August when the first day of “school” loomed closer. In my haste to order desk chairs and task lamps, amidst my husband’s decision to build (yes, build) my middle child a desk for his room, I landed on the Kohl’s web site armed with $50 Kohl’s cash to redeem within a few hours or it would expire. Determined not to lose the cash (as if I hadn’t spent $300 the week prior to earn that promotional money!), I added an Instant Pot to my cart, hoping it would be my saving grace for weeknight dinners during the upcoming school/home debacle (I mean, situation). I gave it a whirl the night it came and pulled together a lentil soup that my entire family was impressed by. Ok, so maybe there’s a reason why America loves this thing.
I fine-tuned the recipe a bit and made it again. This time, it tasted even better. It was a clear winner with the famiglia. And now I’m sharing it here on the blog! I have faith in this handy dandy little appliance and find myself looking for things to cook in there, as if it has a button on it that says “poof, dinner is served”!
I have a lot to learn yet about all the tricks, ins and outs, but here is what I can tell you:
- The pot needs to pressurize (kind of like an oven pre-heating) before it starts the countdown of the clock. This can take a while if there’s a lot of liquid in the pot. So for a soup like this, don’t be alarmed if it takes quite a while to come up to pressure before the clock starts ticking.
- I opted for the stainless steel inner cooking pot instead of the non-stick/coated type. I prefer stainless, as it’s a safer way to cook, especially at high temperatures. I also like that you don’t “taste” the pot in your food like you do with a traditional Crock Pot. I recommend that stainless if you can find it.
Instant Pot Lentil & Basmati Rice Soup
- Quarter of a large Vidalia onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 4 to 5 carrots cut into coins or chopped
- 2 cups dry lentils
- 1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
- Olive oil, salt, crushed red pepper
- 1 dried bay leaf
- Step 1 Heat olive oil in the bottom of the instant pot using the sauté function.
- Step 2 Add the carrots, onions and garlic and sauté until all of the veg are soft and starting to become translucent.
- Step 3 Add in a pinch or two of crushed red pepper, a pinch of sea salt and the bay leaf.
- Step 4 Rinse and drain 2 cups of lentils while legs are softening.
- Step 5 Once the vegetables have softened, add in the lentils and a half cup of basmati rice.
- Step 6 Turn off the sauté function.
- Step 7 Poor in 9 cups of liquid (can be any combination of bone broth, chicken stock or vegetable stock, even water is fine to add if you don’t have 9 cups of stock or broth)
- Step 8 Season with additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Step 9 Give it a good stir and put the lid on the pot making sure that it’s locked and that the vent is turned to “sealed”
- Step 10 Set the pressure cooker function on high pressure for 25 minutes
- Step 11 It will take a little time for the pressure to come up and the timer to start counting down
- Step 12 Once the timer is done, switch the valve to vent and allow the pressure to release
- Step 13 Unlock lid, stir and serve!