Melissa Clark’s Instant Pot Knowledge

Come for her recipes for pork stew and braised chickpeas, stay for her expert tool tips.

By Sam Sifton

Good morning. Melissa Clark took to the pages of The Times this week to give us a terrific look back at her last five years cooking with an electric pressure cooker. Of course there are recipes — for pork stew with red wine and olives (above), for tomato-braised chickpeas with tahini, for rice pudding. But what’s equally invaluable are her troubleshooting tips: how to deal with an ill-seated top, for instance; what to do when you get a burn message on the screen; how to clean your sealing ring; why you should salt your beans before cooking them.

I’ve been using mine fairly regularly of late, generally in the service of what we call in this precinct no-recipe recipes, or freestyled meals made off prompts, without strict instruction. For congee, say, with chicken thighs? That’s just sushi rice and water at a 1:9 ratio, with a few chicken thighs and a lot of chopped ginger, blasted on high pressure for 30 to 40 minutes, then seasoned and served with chopped scallions and roasted peanuts.

Or for ramen stock? I parboiled some sliced pig’s feet and chunks of pork shoulder for five minutes, drained and rinsed everything, put it in the pressure cooker with a mound of sautéed leeks and knobs of ginger, then cooked that at high pressure for 20 minutes. I put the resulting stock through a strainer lined with cheesecloth, minced some of the pig skin from the trotters into it, added white miso for body and a little soy sauce for saltiness, then set it on the stove in a pot to simmer. With ramen noodles, a little shredded pork shoulder, halved soft-boiled eggs and sliced scallion, it made for a delicious couple of meals.

Maybe you don’t have one of these devices. That’s perfectly fine, maybe even commendable. Cooking shouldn’t always be about equipment, as I’m reminded every time I run into someone cubing potatoes in her palm.

If so, perhaps you could consider making this roasted salmon glazed with brown sugar and mustard, or this curry of winter squash and wild mushrooms. Or maybe this charred cauliflower stew? And at some point this week I think we should all make Yewande Komolafe’s latest: roasted fish with lemongrass and ginger. She calls for branzino. I think it’d be great with trout as well.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes to consider cooking this week waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. Go browse among them as you used to do at malls, looking for sweaters or shoes. Yes, you’ll need a subscription in order to access them, and to use the features on our site and apps. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider subscribing today. Your subscriptions support our work. Thanks so much.

And we’ll be standing by, in case anything goes wrong with your cooking or our technology. Just write Someone will get back to you, I promise, and if they don’t you can always yell at me: I read every letter sent.

Now, it’s more to do with dining out than cooking in, but I loved Pete Wells’s essay in The Times this week about the pleasures of the restaurants in Midtown Manhattan, a love letter of sorts, a rediscovery, an understanding.

I resisted “Gracepoint” on Amazon Prime because I’d so liked “Broadchurch,” which is the British version of the same show, and starring the same actor, David Tennant. But this is life now. It’s just fine!

On Instagram, T Magazine paired “decree,” a poem by Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, with a photograph he took at the French military cemetery in Gdansk, Poland.

Finally, this is The Jazz Butcher: “Caroline Wheeler’s Birthday Present.” Play that loud while you’re cooking, and I’ll be back with you on Friday.

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