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Southern Comfort
in an Instant

Southern Comfort <br>in an Instant
By Sheri Castle | Photos by Hélène Dujardin

Sheri Castle shares favorites from her latest cookbook of classics reimagined for the multicooker


Instant Tips

  • Instapot cooking is still cooking, so don’t skip the fundamental techniques 
that we know add flavor and make for great recipes: steps such as searing meat, simmering a sauce, or finishing with a squeeze of citrus and smattering of fresh herbs. Trust your palate and your experience whenever you cook, including with an instapot.
  • Most multicooker brands work more or less the same way, but carefully read your user manual to understand the particulars of your pot. As with all appliances, instapots have quirks. You’ll learn more about the idiosyncrasies of your pot each time you use it, and can then use those insights to make minor adjustments the next time you prepare that recipe.
  • Little things matter: the age and size of dried beans, for example, or even different brands of common grocery items. After you make a recipe, jot notes in the margins based on your personal experience and preferences, just as you would with any new recipe or technique. You’ll soon know exactly how to prepare many of your heirloom recipes and have new ones to pass along.
  • When converting a recipe from stovetop to instapot, consult a similar, reliable recipe for guidance on cooking times and amounts of liquid. If you ever have doubts about a cooking time, start with less time. You can always cook a recipe longer, but there’s no turning back from overcooked food. If a recipe turns out only a little undercooked or not as thick as you like it, the best option is to simmer it uncovered on the sauté function. If the food is significantly undercooked, it might need a little more pressure-cooking. Keep in mind that the food continues to cook the entire time the pot is undergoing natural release of pressure.
  • Cooking times in Instantly Southern (and all instapot recipes) cannot accurately tell you the amount of time it takes the pot to come up to pressure or for a full natural release of pressure. That’s because there are too many variables, such as the type and density of the contents, the ratio of liquids to solids, the starting temperature of the food, and so forth. Some pots have a digital display that will let you monitor the rise and fall of the pressure, but you cannot control the speed at which it occurs.

Green Curry and Vegetable Medley

This green curry was inspired by the best mango lassi Castle ever tasted (from the Cruze Farm food truck at the Knoxville Farmers Market), which was made with buttermilk instead of yogurt.


Five-Minute Mac and Cheese

This is homemade comfort and joy, quicker and easier than ever because you do everything right in the pot. It’s ready to serve in the time it would take a saucepan of water to come to a boil on top of the stove.

Red Beans and Rice

Dried beans and other legumes are often the first thing that people prepare in their multicookers. This version of a New Orleans staple comes together in record time.

Bourbon and Cola Beef Short Ribs

This dish is inspired by the classic braised beef recipes that appear in almost all vintage community cookbooks of the South. Castle has updated the idea a bit with fresh onions, herbs, and cola sweetened with cane sugar.