16 January 2021

Weekend Cooking: The Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation by BruceWeinstein and Mark Scarbrough

Review of Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation by Bruce Weinstein and Mark ScarbroughI had every intention to write and post this review last week. But after all the events that happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, I really just didn't have it in me to post a cookbook review.

No worries, though, because Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough's Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation (thanks to Voracious Books and the Voracious Ambassador Program for the review copy) can be used all year round.

Let me start with a little background. I've been a pressure cooker fan since the 1990s, relying on my stove top model until about--what?--10 years ago when the electric versions became readily available and readily affordable. I'm still a fan, and have two electrics and my original stove-top pot. I cook under pressure at least once a week.

I was really excited to see a new Instant Pot cookbook from Weinstein and Scarbrough. They've written many cookbooks, have been nominated for James Beard Awards, and have won an IACP award. They know what they're talking about.

The Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation has (as the cover says, 350 new recipes, ranging from breakfasts and snacks to main dishes, sides, and desserts. The recipes are extremely family friendly, appealing to a wide variety of tastes. For each recipe, the authors have indicated whether it is appropriate for a vegetarian, gluten-free, or vegan diet.

Review of Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation by Bruce Weinstein and Mark ScarbroughThings I like about the recipes: easy to find ingredients, clear step-by-step instructions, tips and notes to help you succeed, and directions for the full range of Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) sizes. I appreciate the "Beyond" boxes, which contain variations, serving tips, and/or ways to use leftovers.

In addition, Weinstein and Scarbrough include recipes to help you learn new techniques, like pot-in-pot cooking, baking, poaching, and stacked cooking. They also help you learn to use models that include an air-fryer lid.

Things I need to point out: The cookbook contains very few photographs of the finished dishes, and these are all found in a single color insert section. Some of the recipes would be just as easy and maybe even quicker if made on the stove top in a conventional pot or saucepan. This is a personal issue for me. I love my pressure cookers, but I don't use them for every possible dish. On the other hand, I can imagine several situations in which being able to cook almost everything in a single electric small appliance could be a bonus (RV camping, studio apartment, for example).

Finally, for a couple of the recipes I tried (not all), I cut the time at pressure by a couple of minutes to get the results that suit our tastes. How did I know to do this? Experience. If you cook something in your pressure cooker and the veggies are too soft, then next time cut the time by a minute or two and see if you're happier. As with all new techniques and skills, there is a learning curve.

I cooked quite a bit out of Weinstein and Scarbrough's The Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation. Usually I followed the directions exactly, but in some cases, I used their recipes as inspiration. I made the Lemon, Baby Kale, and Goat Cheese Risotto (except we used Parmesan cheese instead), Balsamic Beef Stew (a winner, with no tweaks), Millennial-Friendly Pasta e Fagioli Soup, Grandmother-Friendly Potato Soup (with the called-for cabbage), and Ground Beef and Lentil Soup. I'm curious about making some of the desserts and the casseroles.

Review of Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation by Bruce Weinstein and Mark ScarbroughRecommendation: I recommend The Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough for anyone looking for easy and doable recipes for their electric pressure cooker, and especially those who may be totally new to the Instant Pot. It's also a good resource for experienced users wishing to learn new tricks for their beloved appliance.

The recipe I'm sharing today is for Spiced Poached Pears, which I picked because it's vegan and gluten-free and could easily be adapted to conventional cooking if you don't have a pressure cooker. I'm giving the directions for 5- to 8-quart Instant Pots. The authors suggest a bold red wine or even a sweet Riesling if you don't have cider on hand. Weinstein and Scarbrough serve the pears and syrup over ice cream.

Note: I haven't yet made this recipe. Thanks to Voracious and the Voracious Ambassador Program for the review copy. The scans and recipe are used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders.

Spiced Poached Pears
Serves 4

  • 3 1/2 cups unsweetened apple cider
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 small orange
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 firm, ripe bosc or Anjou pears, stemmed, peeled, cored, and halved from top to bottom
Stir the cider, sugar, and vanilla extract in the insert until the sugar dissolves. Push the "stem" ends of the cloves into the orange and drop it into the pot. Add the cinnamon stick too. Nestle the pear halves into this liquid and lock the lid on the pot. Set the pot to pressure cook on high (with the valve closed) for 4 minutes with the keep warm setting off. Hit start.

When the pot has finished cooking, turn it off and let the pressure return to normal naturally, about 25 minutes. Unlatch the pot and open the cooker. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pear halves to a heat-safe storage bowl (do not use plastic). Remove and discard the orange, any cloves that have fallen out, and the cinnamon stick.

Press saute, set on high. Stir constantly as the sauce comes to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring almost constantly until the sauce has reduced to a thick syrup, about half the volume it was after you removed the pears, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour the hot syrup over the pears. Cool to room temperature, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)

12 comments:

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/16/21, 8:15 AM  

I can almost smell the poached pears from here. I don't use my InstaPot for pressure cooking enough, I need to remedy that.

sherry fundin 1/16/21, 8:22 AM  

YUM. thanks for sharing the wonderful recipes
sherry @ fundinmental

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 1/16/21, 8:26 AM  

This sounds like a great edition to my cookbook shelf! I became comfortable with pressure cooking in the last couple years, always living under the fear cloud of my childhood, that they would blow up!

Tina 1/16/21, 8:41 AM  

My husband loves the instant pot so this is a book I will be looking into. You are correct, for RV trips this would be handy.
I nearly missed posting last week because of news but managed to get a breakfast sandwich posted, in comments on that someone told me those riots weren’t maga people & I was misinformed. It was about a breakfast sandwich 🤔 ha

Jackie McGuinness 1/16/21, 8:42 AM  

I like your point that some dishes could be cooked as easily on the stove top. I notice that too. I would hate it when a slow cooker recipe would tell me to brown something before I put it in the slow cooker. So I bought a new slow cooker before Christmas that browns as well. But I haven't used it yet!!

Mae Travels 1/16/21, 8:50 AM  

I appreciate your giving such a thorough review of this book, covering both the strong and weak points. With all the time on my hands these days, I can't imagine acquiring an appliance that speeds up cooking! My mother loved her stove-top pressure cooker, but I never really liked the flavors as well as the conventional result.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

judee 1/16/21, 10:09 AM  

I love my Instant Pot and use it almost daily. I would find a book like this helpful because I haven't taken the time to learn how bake, poach or do stacked cooking. Thanks for an in depth review.

Jackie McGuinness 1/16/21, 2:33 PM  

Further to your comment..
This is our second Stir Crazy! Loved our first one. I bought the original Crock Pot Multi Cooker 5 in 1.

Marg 1/17/21, 5:08 AM  

Poached pears was the second thing we made when we first got our pressure cooker! I will try and have a look at this author for some more ideas!

Greg 1/17/21, 8:42 PM  

I need to get me one of these gadgets. :)

Deb in Hawaii 1/18/21, 1:42 AM  

It looks like a useful cookbook for instant pot owners. Everything you made sounds delicious!

Laurie C 1/25/21, 9:46 PM  

The pear recipe sounds delicious! I don't yet have an Instapot or a pressure cooker. We have a convection feature in our oven, which we never remember to use.

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