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Three recipes that will help you love the Instant Pot

Let this kitchen gadget do the work for you with these soup, tagine, and stew dishes.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Connie Miller of CB Creatives
Spiced butternut squash soup.

These recipes are part of a new partnership between Christopher Kimball and the cooks at Milk Street and the Globe Magazine’s Cooking column.

There are lots of tricks to using an Instant Pot, including techniques to keep long-cooked foods tasting fresh, ways to cook delicate items such as pasta, methods to cook dried beans without soaking them, and how to stagger your ingredients so each is cooked only as long as it needs. The best thing about the Instant Pot is that it does most of the work for you.

We use the Instant Pot’s marriage of sauté pan, pressure cooker and slow cooker to control the pace of cooking, while keeping flavors fresh and bright. Whether you want it done as fast as possible, or would rather take your time, the Instant Pot let’s you decide.

Here we’ve applied the Milk Street method — fresh flavor combinations and a few new techniques from our travels around the world — for a compelling, all-new approach to the Instant Pot. For fall, we focus on a quintessentially autumnal ingredient: butternut squash. An Indian-inspired soup is spiced with garam masala and curry powder, while a chicken tagine gets sweetness from squash and spinach.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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This aromatic, colorful soup, inspired by a recipe in Bollywood Kitchen by Sri Rao, gets its rich flavor from two spice blends (garam masala and curry powder), plus coconut oil and whole-milk yogurt.

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Toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on just before serving add color contrast, nutty flavor, and crunchy texture. Use store-bought roasted pumpkin seeds (plain or spiced) or toast raw ones in the Instant Pot before cooking the soup. Cook them on high (or use the “more” button, depending on your Instant Pot’s settings) and set to sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes, then transfer them to a small bowl; the seeds will crisp as they cool.

Don’t add the yogurt directly to the hot puree, as the heat will cause it to break. Gently warming the yogurt by whisking it with about 1 cup of the puree, then adding the mixture to the pot, will prevent it from curdling.

If you like, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth to make the dish vegetarian.

2        tablespoons coconut oil, preferably unrefined

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1         large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2        tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

1         tablespoon curry powder

2        teaspoons garam masala

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2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks (4 cups)

1         quart low-sodium chicken broth

½      cup plain whole-milk yogurt, plus more to serve

½      cup toasted pumpkin seeds

On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select more/high and sauté. Add the coconut oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the curry powder and garam masala, then add the squash and the broth. Stir to combine, then distribute in an even layer.

FAST VERSION

Press cancel, lock the lid in place, and move the pressure valve to sealing. Select pressure cook or manual; make sure the pressure level is set to high. Set the cooking time for 10 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, allow the pressure to reduce naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to venting. Press cancel, then carefully open the pot.

SLOW VERSION

With the pot on more/high and sauté, bring the mixture to a boil. Press cancel, lock the lid in place, and move the pressure valve to venting. Select slow cook and set the temperature to more/high. Set the cooking time for 4 to 4½ hours; the squash is done when a skewer inserted into the largest piece meets no resistance. Press cancel, then carefully open the pot.

FINISH

In a blender and working in two batches, puree the mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds, transferring the first batch to a bowl; return both batches to the pot. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture directly in the pot.) Select more/high and sauté and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then press cancel to turn off the pot.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and about 1 cup of the puree, then stir into the soup. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of the pumpkin seeds.

Chicken Tagine With Butternut Squash and Spinach

Makes 4 servings

Chicken Tagine With Butternut Squash and Spinach
Connie Miller of CB Creatives
Chicken tagine with butternut squash and spinach.

This richly aromatic dish features the warm spices and sweet-briny flavor profile common in Moroccan cooking. To simplify prep, look for already peeled and seeded butternut squash in the produce section of the supermarket.

If you like, serve the tagine with chopped green olives and couscous, rice, or warmed flatbread.

Don’t drain the diced tomatoes; their liquid adds sweetness and acidity to the stew.

4        tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2        teaspoons ground cinnamon

2        teaspoons ground cumin

2        teaspoons sweet paprika

1         teaspoon ground coriander

1½    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces

1         large yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

4        medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

4        teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

14½-ounce can diced tomatoes

8        ounces peeled butternut squash, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

5        ounces baby spinach

2        teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice

In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the oil, 2½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and the cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and coriander. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the spice paste.

On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select more/high and sauté. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and the remaining spice paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in 2½ cups water, scraping up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the squash, and the chicken; stir to combine, then distribute the ingredients in an even layer.

FAST VERSION

Press cancel, lock the lid in place, and move the pressure valve to sealing. Select pressure cook or manual; make sure the pressure level is set to high. Set the cooking time for 3 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, let the pressure reduce naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving to pressure valve to venting. Press cancel, then carefully open the pot.

SLOW VERSION

With the pot still on more/high and sauté, bring the mixture to a boil. Press cancel, lock the lid in place, and move the pressure valve to venting. Select slow cook and set the temperature to less/low. Set the cooking time for 3 to 3½ hours; the tagine is done when a skewer inserted into the chicken and squash meets no resistance. Press cancel, then carefully open the pot.

FINISH

Stir in the spinach, then re-cover the pot without locking the lid in place. Let stand until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper.

Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.

Pork, Corn, and Butternut Squash Stew

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Pork, Corn, and Butternut Squash Stew
Connie Miller of CB Creatives
Pork, corn, and butternut squash stew.

This colorful stew is loosely based on Argentinian locro, a stick-to-your-ribs dish that traditionally includes multiple cuts of fresh and cured meats, hominy, legumes, and winter squash. The flavors here skew sweet from the corn, tomatoes, and butternut squash, but the cumin, garlic garlic, and pork balance with their savoriness.

We prefer this stew made with fresh corn kernels cut from cobs, as this leaves us with stripped cobs to infuse even more corn flavor into the mix. But when fresh corn is not in season, frozen corn is a fine substitute. Use 2 cups frozen corn kernels; no need to thaw before use.

Don’t add more water than the amount called for. Two cups may seem scant, but the ingredients release moisture as they cook, creating ample broth for the stew.

2 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks

8 ounces peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Kosher salt

¼ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped

Lemon wedges, to serve

START

Using a chef’s knife, cut the kernels from the ears of corn; you should have about 2 cups. Stand the stripped cobs in a wide bowl, then use the back of the knife to scrape from top to bottom all around it, allowing the liquid to fall into the bowl. Add the kernels to the bowl, then cut each cob in half and reserve separately.

On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select more/high and sauté. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning they begin to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, paprika, cumin, and cayenne, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pork, squash, corn kernels and liquid, tomatoes, 2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt, then distribute in an even layer. Add the corn cobs to the pot.

FAST

Press cancel, lock the lid in place, and move the pressure valve to sealing. Select pressure cook or manual; make sure the pressure level is set to high. Set the cooking time for 25 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, allow the pressure to reduce naturally for 15 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to venting. Press cancel, then carefully open the pot.

SLOW

With the pot still on more/high and sauté, bring the mixture to a boil. Press cancel, lock the lid in place, and move the pressure valve to venting. Select slow cook and set the temperature to more/high. Set the cooking time for 4 to 5 hours; the pork is done when a skewer inserted into the largest piece meets no resistance. Press cancel, then carefully open the pot.

FINISH

Remove and discard the corn cobs. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the cilantro and with lemon wedges on the side.

Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.