With cooking instructions that read, "put all the ingredients in the rice cooker and cook until done," Chicken and The Usual Suspects is quite possibly the least labor-intensive recipe in The Pot and How To Use It, and after opening a few cans and dicing chicken thighs, dinner was well on its way. Since I wasn't feeling particularly productive, I spent the time it took the pot to work its magic to speculate on which ingredients represented the various actors in this cinematically titled dish—would Kevin Spacey make a better artichoke or a marinated mushroom?
'The Pot and How to Use It' on Serious Eats
It's probably best to start off the introduction for this Mushroom Risotto recipe from Roger Ebert's The Pot and How to Use It by saying that there are no short cuts when to comes to making risotto. But if time is an issue and a dish of savory, creamy, mushroom studded rice is what you're after then the rice cooker can certainly make a passable approximation.
[Photograph: Caroline Russock] From time to time we all need a detox—a healthy, clean meal that is healthful and reinvigorating. Sadly, "healthful" isn't always synonymous with "tasty" and these good-for-you meals leave you craving something a little more satisfying. This...
Apart from browning the beef on the stove, the rest of the effort lies in opening a few cans of beans and tomatoes (and making sure you shut off the rice cooker in the morning). The flavor is indistinguishable from the chilis that I've spent hours slowly stirring and checking up on, making me think that the rice cooker should be redubbed the "chili cooker."
When you think about it, making rice pudding in a rice cooker makes total sense, since it eliminates the need to stir stovetop and pretty much guarantees perfectly cooked rice. The recipe, like most of the other recipes in The Pot and How to Use It, is really just a matter of piling all of the ingredients into the cooker, giving them a little stir, and waiting for the pot to do its magic. About 10 minutes into cooking the pot starts to steam and give off an intoxicating mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter aromas—warm, sweet, and totally amazing.
This Soy Rice and Chicken recipe was submitted to Roger Ebert's blog by a commenter in Taiwan. It's a spin on a family favorite—bits of chicken mixed with flavorful rice infused with ginger, onions, shiitakes, and plenty of soy sauce. Like all of the recipes in The Pot and How to Use It, it's simple to prepare, basically just a matter of sautéing the chicken, mixing it with other ingredients, and pressing the "cook" button on your rice cooker.
It was a blog post that inspired his newly released cookbook, The Pot and How to Use It, a book devoted to the subject of rice cooker cookery. The Pot and How to Use It is a funny kind of cookbook made up of Ebert's philosophies about cooking and health, his blog entries, and recipes generated in the comments section of his blog. It's a slim volume designed to get you acclimated to using your rice cooker for more than just rice, along with plenty of Ebert's prose to keep you thoroughly entertained while you cook in The Pot. Enter here to win a copy.