All you need for good home cooking, cookbook author Sarah Copeland once explained, is a sharp chef’s knife, a wooden spoon, and a few good sturdy pots. In her new book, Instant Family Meals, she concludes: “I was wrong…”
Turns out there’s a reason everybody swears by the Instant Pot — who can’t get behind a dinner you can make with the push of a button? — and once she gave it a chance, she was hooked. I am just like Sarah used to be, but if something is going to convince me otherwise, it’s her latest book, all about family meals you can make in your slow cooker, pressure, multi cooker, and Instant Pot. At the height of the craze a few years ago, I bought an Instant Pot that I pretty much exclusively use to do one thing — accelerate the cooking of dried beans when I haven’t thought ahead to presoak — but to look through her book, there’s a world of one-pot main dishes that promise a ridiculously high return on investment when it comes to time spent and deliciousness delivered. Think: Coconut salmon, Shakshuka, Saucy Chicken and Olives, Cacio e Pepe Risotto, this Turkey Meatball Soup that looks like the perfect Sunday Night January Dinner.
What about you all? Where do you stand on the Instant Pot? And what is the best thing you’ve made in yours?
Turkey Meatball Soup
From Sarah: I was skeptical about trying our family’s go-to soup in the Instant Pot: Would the meatballs fall apart into a million pieces under pressure? But, in the name of research, I gave it a go. The result: the meatballs were exceptionally moist and tender, and they lent the broth a deeply flavorful finish.
1 pound lean ground turkey
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1⁄3 packed cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more asneeded
½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
½ cup finely grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup macaroni
4 packed cups chopped baby kale
1 lemon, zested and cut in half
1⁄3 packed cup roughly chopped fresh dill or basil, for serving
Combine the meat, bread crumbs, parsley, thyme, egg, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and the cheese in a large bowl. Mix with a fork or clean hands until well combined. Gently roll the mixture into 16 medium (1¾-inch) or about 32 small (1-inch) meatballs.
Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into the inner pot of the pressure cooker and set to Saute. Add half the meatballs and brown on all sides, turning them carefully, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate and repeat with the remaining tablespoon oil and the remaining meatballs.
Once the second batch is browned, return the first batch of meatballs to the inner pot, and add the broth and macaroni. Lock on the lid and Pressure Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes. Release the steam manually (covering your pressure valve with a towel, as it may sputter, thanks to the starch in the pasta). Open the lid. Check the pasta for doneness; also check a meatball to be sure it is cooked through. If needed, put on the lid again (but don’t lock) and let sit on the Keep Warm setting for 2 minutes more.
Open the lid and add the kale and lemon zest to the pot. Stir once, replace the lid (but don’t lock), and leave on the Keep Warm setting until the greens are wilted, 1 to 3 minutes, opening the lid and stirring occasionally if needed. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Open the lid and spoon the soup into bowls. Drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Scatter the cheese and herbs over the top.
Photo by Christopher Testani. Reprinted with permission from Instant Family Meals by Sarah Copeland. Photographs by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter.