Dinner in an Instant

The latest buzz among foodies is all about the “Instant Pot.” This new piece of cookware that will theoretically cover all culinary tasks seems to have become the darling of celebrity chefs everywhere. It’s got a following that is almost unbelievable. This technical marvel combines pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker and rice cooker into one electric appliance and seems to make anyone that uses it a hero. Now, while this item would not cover all these tasks in a kosher kitchen, it led me to the original method of getting complete, hearty meals on the dinner table in the shortest time possible — the stovetop pressure cooker.

Chicken and Sausage Stew

If you prefer the stew less spicy, use a milder sausage.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving

8 ounces hot Italian sausage, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into 8 serving pieces or drumsticks, and thighs

2 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chopped sausage and cook, stirring, until just starting to crisp around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add paprika, chickpeas, tomatoes, chicken pieces and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Seal pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook for 15 minutes. Cool pressure cooker under a cold running tap or use the quick release valve, and open. Return to high heat and cook, stirring gently, until it achieves a thick, stew-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and serve, drizzling with more olive oil at the table.

Thick and Rich Corn Soup

The trick to making this soup so thick is the starchy cob.

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, well cleaned and finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 medium cloves garlic, crushed

6 ears of corn, kernels cut off from cobs, cobs split in half and reserved (you can use frozen cobs if you do not use fresh corn)

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1 quart homemade or store-bought chicken stock (or more, if needed)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried

Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

Heat canola oil over medium heat in a pressure cooker. Add leeks and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.

Add corn with cobs, bay leaves, tarragon, and enough chicken stock to barely cover corn (the cobs might still be sticking out a bit). Stir to combine. Seal pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook for 15 minutes. Release pressure using quick-release method and uncover. Discard corn cobs, bay leaves, and tarragon stems.

Using an immersion blender, blend until completely smooth, adding more chicken stock if necessary. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup immediately with minced tarragon leaves and chives and a drizzle of olive oil, or chill and serve cold. Once chilled, if the soup is too thick, you can adjust the texture by whisking in water a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.