The Instant Pot is the most recent obsession of cooks everywhere. As a lover of all gadget things, I’ve been seriously tempted to get one, but decided against it. My rationale for swimming against this current is that a regular pressure cooker does the exact same job, with the advantage of heating up faster and achieving higher final pressure (at least my model does).  I always use a skillet if I need to brown meat before cooking under pressure, so the saute feature of the Instant Pot doesn’t appeal to me. Its surface is smaller, I much rather stick with my 12 inch skillet for that. Then there is the slow-cooking capability. From what I heard, it does not compare to a regular slow-cooker and more often than not your tried and true recipe for the trusty old crock pot needs to be tweaked. I also think the size and shape of the classic slow-cooker are more appropriate for the type of stuff I cook in it. Think large pieces of pork shoulder, baby back ribs, or several little pots of custard things for crème brûlée. The only feature of the instant pot that cannot quite be matched by other gadgets is the yogurt making. But, do I ever make yogurt at home? Not really. So there you have it, the Bewitching Kitchen will go on Instant Pot-less. And today I share with you a pot roast made in our crock pot, melt-in-your-mouth tender, with the delicious addition of fennel, that absolutely makes this dish. Don’t omit it. By all means, if you own the Instant Pot, put it to use. My feelings won’t be hurt…

(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or oil of your choice)
1 bone-in chuck roast, 4 to 5 pounds
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
6 yellow potatoes (such as Yukon Gold), halved
2 fennel bulbs, cut in large pieces
6 carrots, peeled, and cut in large pieces
1 shallot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup water
fresh parsley, to serve (optional)

Mix the spices in a small bowl, crushing the fennel seeds lightly. Rub the dry rub all around the beef.  In a large skillet, heat the oil and brow the meat on all sides. As the meat browns, place the potatoes, carrots, fennel, shallots and celery inside your slow-cooker. Season them lightly with salt.

When the meat is golden brown, transfer it to the slow cooker, placing it on top of the veggies. Deglaze the skillet with a little water, and transfer the juices to the slow-cooker. Add the beef broth and water. Set it on low for 10 hours, you can also cook on high for 5 to 6 hours, but I really prefer the texture of the meat when cooked low and slow.

Shred or cut the beef in serving pieces, and enjoy with all the veggies. It is even better when prepared one day in advance.


to print the recipe, click here

This was very good served over mashed cauliflower, my to-go veggie of choice for a low-carb side dish. I made the pot roast the day before our dinner, and re-warmed it gently on the stove top, adding fresh parsley right before indulging in it. The exact same recipe could be made in the pressure cooker, probably taking around 30 minutes in high pressure. Still, there’s something to be said about coming home to a house that smells like dinner is waiting for you with open arms. Even if you will place it in the fridge for a day…  Leftovers are as amazing as one would expect!

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  1. Yes, I know! Our on-line firms are enticing us with those Instant Pots ever more often. At ever more ‘reasonable’ prices!! Methinks many just don’t have ‘another’ bit of space in our kitchens to ‘try out’ !! Love your recipe ’cause I love fennel and don’t use it enough. But I oft work long hours into the evening: my office chair is about 12 metres from my kitchen stove . . . guess what . . . have some ordinary Creuset pots which have worn well . . . love the smell . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • if space is a problem, I think the IP can be very helpful. But for me it would mean bringing ANOTHER gadget to join the PC and the crockpot – I am not willing to get rid of my PC, it is one thing that reminds me of my Mom so much, it will be with me forever….. 😉


  2. Interesting to read your thoughts about the instant pot as I’ve seen them popping up on other people’s blogs, thank you for the honest review 😀😘😘
    I noticed recently that my mother in law has a slow cooker languishing in the cupboard, I’m considering whether I would use it….!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, Elaine, I am not sure you NEED one. But I know you could have fun with it, particularly to cook grains. I was pretty sold on farro made in the slow-cooker, it got a texture that beat the regular pot by a long shot. And I know it will work well for plenty of other things, including beans and garbanzo beans, which can be particularly tricky to cook to that perfect texture.

      Liked by 1 person

            • the thing is catching the timing perfectly – with the PC, it is easy to go over, and also beans tend to change from bag to bag. For some reason my Mom used to get it right every single time, but I suspect she always bought her beans in the street market from the same vendor – which reduces a bit the variability. That’s the way thing were “back in the day”

              with the crockpot the cooking time is a lot more forgiving, as the temperature is lower. If I remember correctly Denise does not even soak the beans – I tend to soak because I find it digests more easily. But it is a step that can be omitted. I don’t think you can omit for garbanzo beans. those are pesky little toughies… 😉

              Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a little confused here. Your description says you are using alternately a crock pot or a slow cooker, both of which describe a specific type of electric powered vessel. But the picture attached appears to show you having cooked the dish in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven (my own choice for long, slow cooking). Did you just transfer the finished product to that pot for artistic purposes, or am I reading this wrong? Either way, yeah: FIGHT THE EVIL INSTANT POT SCOURGE! DON’T FALL FOR ITS LIES! LIES, I TELL YOU!!!

    ps. If you ever wanna make superb low-tech yogurt – and you should – I did a little tutorial: No Instant Pot needed!

    Fight the good fight, sistah.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I used the terms interchangeably – I just don’t like to repeat slow-cooker and slow-cooker in the same paragraph… yeah, I am nuts like that… 😉

      and as to the photo – I took the picture when I served it, next day – so I warmed it all up in a different pan. You are sharp as a tack! 😉 and first I typed sharp as a tick, but thankfully caught it

      will check out your yogurt thing

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am instant pot-less like you, and also the proud owner of two pressure cookers (different sizes) and two crock pots (also different sizes). I think I’m gadgeted out in that department and certainly don’t need the triple redundancy of the instant pot. I like that you used fennel bulb in this. I never thought I was a fan of fennel until I roasted some, it sure brings out a different flavor!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re really not missing anything, especially if you have the stove top pressure cooker. I’m having fun with it, but could easily live without it, and will never give up my slow cooker =)

    P.S. Your pot roast sounds amazing and delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good for you about this latest so called must have thing. I agree with everything you said. As you know I am a gadget aficionado, but this one leaves me cold.



    Liked by 1 person

  7. Have you considered the sous vide for crème brûlée? Only one hour of cooking. We’ve enjoyed it often for entertaining, once I got comfortable with those little torch things, :). Also lemon and pumpkin cheesecakes are amazing, take about 90 min. Love those less than 1/2 cup servings too, and how long they keep since they seal themselves. Dangerous things to have around though, have to gift some home with the kids or guests.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anita, I have considered. But I am very afraid of how to do it – I know the theory, I mean, I see the recipes, but the idea of submerging the little pots in water… I am afraid of losing it all or having water getting inside the custard…. I wish I could see a video of a tried and true method…. come to think of it, it’s probably available at – gotta check


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