Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chicken in the Pressure Cooker

This is the best thing you will ever eat.
This is the best value you'll get from any food you cook.
This is reason 1 of 8,583 of why I love my electric pressure cooker.
You're welcome.  O_o
Tracy cooks a
Whole Chicken in the Pressure Cooker

1 carrot, broken in a couple pieces, unpeeled
1 stick celery, broken in a couple pieces, leaves are fine
1 onion (with skin!), cut in half if it's small, quarters if it's big, remember, leave the skin on!
pepper corns (or pepper, we don't need to be chefy here)
1 bay leaf
herbs you like, fresh or dry parsley + stems, herbs d'provence, thyme
1 3-6 lb chicken, whole, (empty the innards!)
water, as much as your machine will hold
a couple sprinklings of salt, maybe 1+ tsp?

Ok, I am not kidding when I tell you this is the best thing you'll ever cook in this machine.  If you don't have an electric pressure cooker and you are thinking of getting one, this is the reason you must go now (after you finish reading my blogs and commenting on how fabulous and useful they are) and buy one.  I am doing a little hard sell here because they are changing my culinary life and I don't know why or how but this cheap little Nesco that I bought from Walmart, on a lark, for $60 is the second thing I'd rush into a burning building to save from my kitchen.  We know I wouldn't leave the Big Red Kitchenaid behind ;)

I digress, as per usual. We need to return to the chicken.

This is as hard as it gets, put everything in the pressure cooker in the order they're listed.  Put the chicken in upside down (breast down, backbone up). It will float, don't worry about it.

**You need to follow the manufacturer recommendation for your own machine on how much liquid you can put in, mine has hash marks up the side so I know.

Lock and load the pressure cooker, 30 minutes.  Go do something fabulous.
You can open immediately or just leave it to come down from pressure naturally, I usually let this come down on it's own because I generally have found something else to do and forget about the bird.  It's fine in there for hours actually, I have gone shopping while this cooks.  The machine switches to WARM so it just holds it all for the day.

You will need a spider or other gigantic tool to remove the chicken from the broth.  It is falling apart and so tender and juicy and flavorful!

This is how I deal with all this.

I transfer the bird to a big bowl and put aside to pick later then scoop the solids from the liquid and toss them, they've given up all they have, thanks veggies, great job.

I add about a cup or water to the stock to extend it then transfer the stock to either a giant container (I have 8qt containers) or divide it between measuring cups and put in the fridge to jelly up.  The fat rises to the top when it's cold and I scoop that fat into a mason jar (conveniently labelled "chicken fat") and keep it in the freezer to cook with.  *there is NO waste in my world  I simply dig into the frozen fat with a fork to break off chunks when I need it.

After I get the fat, I divide the liquid/jelly into separate, smaller, containers and freeze them to use whenever I need.

I pick the chicken meat for whatever uses I have.  I freeze some, fridge some, eat some.  I use the small dark meat bits for jambalaya, a mix of dark and white for chicken divan, I slice the large pieces of white for dinner with gravy and vegetables.  I make chicken salad, chicken and pasta, chicken and rice, combine it with roast potatoes and hot sauce and cheese and bacon with a salad.  I make soup and chicken and dumplings with the broth.  I use the broth everywhere!  One chicken, 10+ meals.  Seriously.

Oh and if I haven't already said, this is the best stock you'll ever eat/drink/use.  There's no need whatsoever to buy broth in a box at the store.  Really.  In Austin, I can buy a rather large (5 lb) chicken for .77/lb so my standard chicken for this method is under $4 when they go on sale.  I load up!

There you have it.  My ode to the two perfect things in my house at any given time, a chicken and my electric pressure cooker.

Here is a video of the reveal, the portion of me putting the stuff IN the pot didn't convert...  anyway here is a video instead of a thousand pictures:


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