Instant Pot® Not So Instant Chili

I’m probably one of the last cooks in America that have resisted buying and using the Instant Pot®. I really don’t have a reason or justification for not running to the store to buy the newest craze in this kitchen appliance when it came out a few years ago. I was just unenthused. A few friends purchased them and raved about how nice it makes hard-boiled eggs. I had to ask myself, with only two of us in our household, did I need a new device to make a dozen hard-boiled eggs at one time, for an occasion when I needed a dozen hard-boiled eggs maybe once a year? My rational self said no, my irrational self said, well not now, but let’s keep an eye on that Instant Pot® and check it out later. And that I did.

Fast forward a few years and here I am the new owner of an Instant Pot®. The back story is that my crockpot cracked (pause for jokes to insert here – I have eliminated all of hubby’s – they are not blog worthy in my opinion).  I had to go shopping for a new crockpot or slow cooker. The Instant Pot® claims that it also slow cooks. Well, I examined many models of this device that had a slow cook button — there is the 6-in-1, the 7-in-1, the 8-in-1, the 10-in-1… as you can see, there are many varieties, too many in my opinion. So a process of elimination ensued. 

First, I had to wipe all memories of the first pressure cooker I owned back in the 70’s. It was a great pot that cooked a whole chicken in 15 minutes but one day it just blew up and I had chicken stuck to every crevice imaginable in the kitchen. We moved from that house shortly afterward – I couldn’t get all the bits of chicken off the ceiling. 

Second, I needed to ask my gal pals how they liked their Instant Pots after using them for a year or so. One friend told me she doesn’t use it that much because she’s a little afraid of it. Another says she gets too busy to remember to use it. Okay, ladies, what was the purpose in buying this device – to speed things up in the kitchen, right? And another friend says it still takes the same amount of prep time (of course it does, you still have to chop the veggies or whatever), but the advantage is that it sautés so you can do everything in one pot. A good point and worth considering – one less pan to clean up. 

After purchasing the 6-in-1 model (I didn’t want to over complicate my brain with more than 6 choices and yet I ended up with 10 main cooking buttons),  I plunged into researching recipes. I threw out the recipe book that came with my model after about 15 minutes. It didn’t make sense and must have been written generically for all the models in the Instant Pot® line. The instructions would say to push button “XX” and my model didn’t have button “XX” so I was totally flummoxed as to what to do. I headed to the internet for recipes. I didn’t find anything I liked, so I experimented with ingredients and came up with this recipe.

I was determined to tame this metal giant and accomplish the task at hand – make slow cooker chili. What I ended up with was a good chili but I didn’t use the slow cook button — this time. I went all in for the sauté button and high-pressure setting and hoped that I wouldn’t blow up the pot on my first attempt. I’d like to stay in this house a while longer.

The zucchini corn muffins I served with this chili are in my new cookbook being published in April 2019. 


Instant Pot Chili
Serves 8
Instructions for 6-qt Instant Pot®
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  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  2. 2 pounds ground beef
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced
  5. 1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  6. 1/3 cup poblano chili, finely diced
  7. 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  8. 3 tablespoons chili powder
  9. 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  10. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  11. 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  13. 12 ounce can beer
  14. 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  15. 1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomato
  16. 1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
  17. 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drain and rinse
  18. 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans (chili flavored if possible keep liquid) if not chili flavor, drain & rinse
  19. Salt & pepper to taste
  20. Dash cinnamon
  21. Fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  22. Cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Set a 6-qt Instant Pot® to the high sauté setting.
  2. Heat canola oil then add beef, crumbling it into bits as you add it to the pot and cook until beef has browned (approx. 3-5 minutes). Remove from pot and drain. Set aside.
  3. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper and chili to the Instant Pot®. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and chili are tender. Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cocoa powder and cumin.
  4. Pour in beer, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add the beef stock, tomato puree, black beans and ground beef to the pot and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle in a light amount of cinnamon into chili ingredients and stir.
  6. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 18 minutes.
  7. When finished cooking, quick-release pressure according to manufacturer’s directions.
  8. Stir in cilantro; season with more salt and pepper, to taste. A dash more cinnamon may be needed.
  9. Serve immediately. If desired, garnish with cheddar cheese and additional cilantro.
Christina's Food And Travel
I’m happy to say I survived, the pot survived, and the house survived. I think I’ll try another recipe!

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