What We're Cooking This Week

8 Bundle-Up Recipes for the Week, Like Instant Pot Polenta

February 16, 2020

The whole point of an Instant Pot is its superhuman speed, right? So you can make beef bourguignon or pea and paneer curry or bread pudding or cheesecake, ahem, in an instant. If I’m being honest, though—I only use my Instant Pot to pressure-cook two things: dried beans and coarse polenta.

But what a difference it makes! Dried beans can be started in the morning, neglected for the entire workday, and end up plump-perfect by the time I come home. And polenta, which used to mean standing over the stove—and standing over the stove and standing over the stove—suddenly takes care of itself.

When you love polenta as much as my husband and I do (a lot so much the most), this is a weeknight game-changer. Whether it’s a butter-and-salt blank slate or chock-full of cheddar and chives, this mush is my back-pocket answer to turning [random-roasted-thing] or [leftover stew, I think, from the freezer] into dinner.

Below are seven dishes our staff is cooking up that would be A++ with polenta—especially Instant Pot polenta, because that’s the best polenta. What would you add to the mix? Let a girl know in the comments.

Coconut Tofu With Burning Rings of Fire

You had me at burning rings of fire. This community recipe comes by way of Aargersi (also the wiz behind other joys like avocado cornbread and coffee-marinated flank steak fajitas). And our managing editor Brinda Ayer can’t stop riffing on it: “It's super satiating, creamy, and goes great with rice, rice noodles, or any other kind of starchy base, like polenta.”

Happy, Slurpy, Stewy Beans

Video Editing Lead Rob Strype had these Stewy White Beans With Escarole, Garlic & Sizzled Rosemary twice last week and reported back with two thumbs up: “so good.” If you’re in the mood for something meatier, stroll on over to this Chicken, Chard & Cranberry Bean Stew, full of zingy ingredients to pull you out of your winter slump (ginger! garlic! cinnamon! preserved lemons! chile flakes!).

Pork Shoulder Ragu for You & You & You

Our customer care operations manager Erin Sanders is teaming up this Genius Pork Shoulder Ragu with grits (the American cousin to polenta). “I wanted to do something Southern, like pulled pork,” she said, “but not sandwiches. Can't wait to try it!” If you want to join in on the fun, keep in mind: This recipe can be made a day or two or three in advance, then reheated on a moment’s notice, and no one will be the wiser.

Potato Stew Because One Carb Isn’t Enough

It is hibernation season after all. Senior Editor Eric Kim has been whipping up this Spicy Korean Chicken & Potato Stew for impromptu get-togethers with friends. “This gochujang stew is a nice, familiar thing people like (chicken, potatoes, carrots), but with a fiery sauce that feels different,” he told me. Would eat! Also nice and fiery: this Coconut & Red Curry Lentil Stew With Sweet Potatoes from our contributor EmilyC. (And if you’re looking for more ways to use up that jar of red curry paste? Emily has you covered.)

Chicken Tagine With Figs & Apricots

“This Moroccan Chicken Tagine With Figs & Apricots is a tasty, scalable base for a cozy winter hangout,” Data Scientist Cody Kestigian said. “You can throw almost anything in there and it'll probably taste good—I jettisoned a bunch of old prunes and baharat into it, and it worked great. Deboned and rewarmed on day two was even better!” Now we’re talking.

On the Side

Three articles waiting for me in my Pocket:

  1. What’s next for natural wine? (Punch)
  2. A chocolate-caramel tart that I really want right now. (Taste)
  3. Sam Sifton on how cooking dinner can change your life. (NYT)

What are you reading and cooking? And what’s your favorite starchy thing to saddle up with your dinner?

Talk soon,

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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.