Sunday, 7 August 2016

How to reheat frozen homemade food in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot

How to reheat frozen homemade food in a pressure cooker or #InstantPot by #FeistyTapas

You know those meals that you portion up for the freezer? Whichever gadget you cook them in (even if it's on a hob or in the oven), you can reheat them from frozen in
a pressure cooker and, of course, in an Instant Pot!

This works particularly well for bolognese, chilli, stews. Not great for fishy dishes, the fish can go a bit rubbery (I tried it with a fish curry and it wasn't great).

This method of reheating frozen homemade food in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker works great for when you forget to remove things from the freezer, when a week is not going according to plan at all, when the children are hungry or if you work from home and need a quick but healthy lunch.

This is a brilliant tip that I learnt from Catherine Phipps herself, the author of The Pressure Cooker Cookbook. She does this in her stove-top pressure cookers so I adapted it to the Instant Pot:

How to reheat food from frozen in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot

Method for reheating pretty much everything from frozen (except rice and pasta dishes)

1. Coat the base of the inner pot with cold water (as little as 40 ml).

2. Remove the frozen lump from the freezer bag or container, place it directly in your pressure cooker (already coated in water as above).

3. Lock in the lid. Steam release handle pointing to Sealing. Press Manual. Programme 15 minutes. In a conventional pressure cooker: lock in the lid, bring to high pressure, time 15 minutes.

4. You can do a quick release at the end of this time or, if you are busy (or relaxing with your feet up), let it do a natural release and even let it go to Keep Warm until you're ready. It might still be in a lump when you open the lid, give it a good stir. Smaller frozen blocks of homemade food can get away with a bit less time usually but I tend to just go with my tried-and-tested 15 minutes. For bigger blocks I let it do a natural release.

Tip from me: In the case of chillies and bolognese I tend to then add a glug of red wine and let it sauté or slow cook (depending on how much time I have) for a while to enhance the flavours.

For reheating rice and pasta dishes

The pot-in-pot (PiP) method works best for reheating rice and pasta dishes from frozen in your Instant Pot.

1. Pour 250 ml of cold water, into the inner pot, put the trivet in place

2. Place the frozen lump in a container (a pot), this can be an enamel pie dish, a stainless steel bowl or even a foil container. You can use Pyrex and ceramic too but I don't recommend it as you'll have to increase the time, this is because heat takes longer to get through thick Pyrex and ceramic meaning you'll have to play with the times.

3. Place the container (pot) on the trivet. Lock the lid in. Steam release handle pointing to Sealing. Press Manual. 15 minutes. You can do quick release or natural release. As you're using a container for this and the heat needs to get through it, I recommend doing a natural release of a few minutes. Of course you can also leave it on Keep Warm until you're ready to it.

Note: If you have the Instant Pot 6 litre then the container you use for pot-in-pot (PiP) container, then your container should have a maximum diameter of 18 cm. If you have the 8 litre then the maximum diameter needs to be 20 cm.
Tip: Rice is best cooled very quickly after cooking and then frozen.

Layered reheating from frozen 

You can combine both methods described above

1. For example place a lump of curry straight in the inner pot after coating it with water, place a tall trivet in the inner pot, and the second frozen dish in a container on top of the trivet. Lock the lid in. Steam Release Handle pointing to Sealing. Manual, 15 minutes (or a bit longer if your container is quite thick or if you have quite a lot of contents), either natural or quick release. I tend to do natural when layered like this.

Here's a handy video

I have an awesome taller trivet from Instant Pot that unfortunately isn't on sale (yet) but I am told the one linked below works well.

You'll find all my Instant Pot recipes here, the Lamb Tagine featured in the photo above is right here and my Pressure Cooking UK with Feisty Tapas group here. Of course, as Instant Pot UK's social media girl, you can also find me in the Instant Pot® UK Community.

**This post contains affiliate links, that means that if you buy a product after clicking through them, I may get a kickback to help me maintain Feisty Tapas and its communities. You also get a huge thank you from me and perhaps one day I may even buy you a cup of coffee at one of the Feisty Tapas meetups**

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