Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Pressure Cooker Chicken

Still trying to figure out what to cook in the pressure cooker you got last Christmas? Or decide if this is the year your get one?   I've had one for a couple of years, and here are my inputs:
  • They take up a considerable amount of storage space, and are a pain to assemble and clean.
  • They do a few things very well:  broth, braised meats, beans.  This includes many soups, stews, and chili.  They do a good job on rice, although I'm guessing a rice cooker does a better job. 
  • They can operate unattended.  I have really come to appreciate this feature.
  • I have a Breville, not the more popular Instapot.  Most recipes are written for Instapots, and my guess is the Breville operates at a bit higher pressure, so it cooks faster.  A good thing, except you have to be prepared to adjust cooking times.  Fortunately the Breville manual provides a good reference.   With either version, there is some guess work... you can't just check every so often to see if things are done, you have to wait until the cycle is complete. 
I routinely use the pressure cooker to cook chicken meat  .. not a whole meal, just chicken to go into a variety of things, like salad, or sandwiches, or a queso, plus a bonus bit of stock. I don't make homemade broth often, but when I do, I use the pressure cooker.  Good homemade broth is essential for risotto, and turkey stock is essential for Thanksgiving dinner.

Chicken legs cooked in the pressure cooker come out as shredded meat, which suits me just fine in most things that call for cooked, diced chicken breasts.   I normally just do one package of 4-5 chicken legs, but have done up to 3 packages.   It's not necessary to add more water for more legs, but you can if you want extra broth.  This also makes great taco meat... in which case I add some chili and cumin to the cooker.

Chicken Meat

Total cooker time ~ 45 minutes for one package of chicken.

1 – 4 pounds chicken legs and/or thighs (with bones and skin) 

½ onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot (optional), coarsely chopped
1 stalk of celery (optional), coarsely chopped
Salt (about ½ teaspoon), pepper to taste
1 cup of water (can add a another cup of water if you want more broth)

Place everything in the cooker.   Pressure cook on the Poultry setting, (9 PSI, auto-pulse release) for 18-20 minutes.   When complete, remove chicken to cool.   Strain broth and let cool.   When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the chicken from the bones and shred, taking care to pull out and tendons and cartilage.    Refrigerate until ready to use. 

Chicken for Taco’s: 

Follow above recipe, but omit the carrot and celery.   Add a teaspoon or two of cumin, plus a teaspoon or two of chili powder (how much really depends on how hot the chili power is, how much chicken, and how spicy you like your food).    After shredding the chicken, refrigerate if not using immediately.  To serve, reheat, adding back enough broth to moisten.  

The pressure cooker is a big time saver for broth.  Even with the heat up and cool down, its under 2 hours, which no effort to find a "low simmer".  And the broth comes out really nicely gelled.  One of the keys to good broth is lots of bones relative the the amount of water... you should just cover the bones and vegetables with water.    This broth is the same recipe I published a few years ago, just cooked in the pressure cooker.

Chicken Broth

Chicken (or turkey) Backs, necks, giblets (from 1 or 2 chickens)...  optional: include the skin (I do)
and/or  Roast chicken carcass (Again, 1 - 2 chickens worth)
1 large carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced (optional)
A sprig or two of parsley (optional)
1 to 1 1/2 quarts of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Put everything in a pressure cooker (no need to thaw chicken parts if they are frozen).  Add just enough water to cover. Pressure cook using the Stock function (1 hour, high pressure). When done, using tongs, pull out the big chunks and discard.  Strain the remainder into a large bowl.   You can either use the broth right away (and I don't bother to skim the fat), or chill.  The best way to rapidly cool is to put the bowl in a sink of cold water (adding ice makes it quicker).  When down to room temperature, cover the bowl and into the fridge. After its cold, skim the fat (which can be used to to saute some potatoes or fry eggs). The broth will gel up when its cold. Store up to 3 days in the fridge, or to freeze, put broth (in 2-4 cup quantities) in 1 quart freezer ziploc's. 

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