“Cooking From Frozen In Your Instant Pot: 100 Foolproof Recipes with No Thawing,” by Kirsty Bernardo. Page Street Publishing. $21.99

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard of the Instant Pot. If you don’t have one, you’ve probably crossed paths with at least one person who told you, with surprising fervor, exactly why you should.

An Instant Pot is not much more than a glorified pressure cooker, a device that’s been around since the late 17th century. Pressure cookers really didn’t become a thing, though, until the ’40s, when the hardships imposed by World War II led people to realize that the shorter cooking times that come with higher pressure used less fuel than conventional methods.

Seventy-five or so years later, the pressure cooker has once again become a thing, so ubiquitous that it goes without saying you know what it is, what it does, and how to use it. At least, it does for Kristy Bernardo, the author of “Cooking From Frozen In Your Instant Pot: 100 Foolproof Recipes with No Thawing.” She’s aimed her book, one of hundreds of Instant Pot-themed volumes to come out in the last several years (not to mention a burgeoning number of blogs, vlogs and podcasts) at Instant Pot veterans. Wasting no time on the Why or the How, she gets right to the What.

I’m not an Instant Pot veteran. I’m an Instant Pot beginner. It took me a while to get used to the idea of a pressure cooker, and even longer to decide to give it a go. I’m still working out my relationship with the Instant Pot, but I’ve come to embrace it with more enthusiasm than I initially thought I could muster.

Which mirrors how I feel about Bernardo’s book.

When I first picked up “Cooking From Frozen,” I was skeptical. One hour (which, if you ask me, is not exactly a flash, but whatever) from rock-hard, frozen poultry to a moist and tender, rotisserie-style bird, like the one so tantalizingly featured on the cover? Please. Even well into the recipe, I doubted. The stewed bird I pulled from the Instant Pot an hour after starting the thing seemed a far cry from the toothsome, rotisserie birds for sale at our local grocers.

A few minutes under the broiler, though – which is how Bernardo has you finish this dish and many others in her book – produced an astonishing transformation, evaporating the excess liquid and leaving moist, yielding meat that fell from the bone. This bird was more than capable of holding its own against even the finest store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Truth be told, I think the results would have been even better if I’d started with a frozen bird instead of fresh, as directed, but there was a small matter of having forgotten to remove the giblets and their paper packaging from the cavity of the original subject before freezing, which necessitated the move to Plan B.

Bernardo acknowledges the possibility of fresh-not-frozen in her tips at the beginning of the book, recommending that cooking times be adjusted down accordingly, which I did. But I can’t help thinking I can do better with the next attempt, and, doubter no more, I look forward to trying a number of her other entries, too.

F.J. Gallagher is a writer in Portland. He blogs about weight loss, food and exercise at BariatricBoy.com.

WHOLE ‘ROTISSERIE’ CHICKEN

Yield: 4 servings

2 teaspoons (5g) paprika

¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon thyme

¼ teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon (8g) coarse salt

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

4 cups (950 ml) water

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 (3-4 lb [1.3-1.8kg]) frozen chicken

Mix together the paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and set it aside.

Add the water, onion and bay leaf to the Instant Pot.

Rub the chicken all over with the spice mixture, then place it in your Instant Pot, directly in the liquid.

Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Press “Manual” and immediately adjust the timer to 60 minutes. Check that the cooking pressure is on “High” and that the release valve is set to “Sealing.”

When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then open the Instant Pot using “Quick Pressure Release.” Carefully remove the chicken and place it on a carving board. Carve the chicken, then place the pieces on a broiler pan, skin side up. Broil the chicken pieces for approximately 5 minutes or until the skin is crisped to your liking. You can also broil the chicken whole, if you prefer.


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