Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Be not Afraid said the Kitchen Gods.

I love my pressure cooker. Oh stop, do you think that progress has marched on in cookery but stood still for pressure cookers? Do you think my dear readers that I would encourage you to use a pressure cooker so I could hear all about how the roof blew off your house on the Hiawatha Playground when you made pea soup?
Seriously, a pressure cooker is a wondrous tool, used everywhere in the world, sometimes several at a time except in the good ol' USA. You can make a risotto is 7 minutes FLAT. Without stirring! Soup Stocks richer then Warren Buffett, in about 45 minutes while you hang out and read the New York Times. Beans, tons and tons of beans, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas can all be made in the pressure cooker in a snap without all the sodium and that cancer causing crap that is coating the inside of the tin that is suppose to make your life easier. DO NOT ASK FOR YOUR MOM"S PRESSURE COOKER, or for your grandma's either. Those are the ones that blew up. Get yourself a new one with all the fancy safety features. You will feel better and so will I.
Okay, lets get on with the recipe at hand. Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock. Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock will be now referred to as PCCS since I don't want to have to spell it out. PCCS is a good excuse to clean out your crisper of all that stuff that is about to go bad and you really aren't sure what to do with. And since your kids are onto you about recycling, you can do the ultimate recycle and use the chicken carcass from last night's dinner which is what I did. I tend to save up chicken carcasses, backs, necks, wings  etc and freeze them so I can make stock.
I have a ton of veggies in the frig from my last two CSA pick-ups so I decided to use them all in my stock.
What you see here is a chicken carcass, garlic, onion, 2 tomatoes that are about to go bad, a leek, a red pepper that is on its way out, arugula, leftover salad greens, celeriac, carrots, parsnips and some parsley. All grown here in Westford at Bread and Roses Farm. The chicken has been raised the old fashion way, with yard, grubs, bugs, feed and other animals at Tamarack Hollow Farm. That was one happy chicken when it was alive and it definitely tastes happy. I love buying meat at the Burlington Farmers Market from Tamarack Hollow Farm because Mike Betit is a bit of a curmudgeon. He doesn't try to be all warm and fuzzy because the man is TIRED and he is trying to sell his meat and he rather be with the animals then with you. Maybe that is why his meat tastes so good, because he likes them much better then you.
Back to the PCCS, the best thing about stock is that you don't have to get fancy with your cutting.
Onions, leave the skin on. It helps the color and richness of the soup.
Same with the garlic. No need to get labor intensive.
I do peel my celeriac because its gnarly and can hid dirt.

I am assuming that you will wash all your veggies prior to chopping but you don't have to peel them. Whoohoo! More time for you!

I don't get crazy chopping the greens but if you so desire, get your aggression out.

Put a few glugs of olive oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker and add all your veggies and the chicken carcass in no particular order.
Add 8 cups of water.

Add peppercorns and salt if you want to, I don't add salt until after its cooked and drained but do what suits you.
That's the money shot. Now for the explicit directions on how to close your pressure cooker.
Every cooker has a gasket in the lid. Make sure yours is in correctly and then lock your lid into place by sliding the handles together.
Like so.           
Slide the green button up to lock into place.
Turn the dial at the top to the closed valve (depicted on mine by the little pan). Your pressure cooker is now locked up tight. It will not explode.

I have an electric range top so I turn on two burners. The first is on high so that the pressure can build quickly. Once you have reached pressure, you want to keep it consistent so I switch it over to the medium heat burner. If you have a gas stove (lucky you!) you can just turn it down on the same burner.
You will know it reached pressure because this little yellow button will pop up and a steady stream of steam (like a tea kettle but without the whistle) will come out of your vent. You want the button to stay up the whole cooking time.
I attempted to show you the steam but my camera refused to take the shot for fear of intimidating you. Seriously it really is like tea kettle steam. 
 Set your timer for 45 minutes and go get your book or magazine.

Once your buzzer goes off, take the pot off the burner. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OPEN! Really, I don't think that Fletcher Allen Healthcare is qualified to do face transplants. The yellow button will look like this:

You will allow the pressure to drop naturally. Which means you leave the pot on the stove locked into place until the button looks like this:
Then you can open that sucker up. Slide the green button down and twist the handle/cover off. Don't hover over it. As I said, Fletcher Allen Healthcare is not qualified to fix your face. 
This is what you will see. Get out your colander and  strain the solids out. You can compost them if you chose to or throw them out.
This is the result. I know, crazy rich in 45 minutes.
You can put it in the frig to cool it and skim off the fat if you choose to but lets face it, chicken fat is Jewish penicillin if you have an old fashion chicken so why not keep it. Its valuable stuff. Happy pastured chickens don't have much fat in them anyhow.

So go forth with said pressure cooker and make your life easier. I will from time to time post a recipe for it. 


  1. Wow--I will have to look into getting a pressure cooker. I do the same thing--make stock after a chicken dinner (with local chicken of course, just a little south of you, and veggies, hastily chopped....). But what happens is it takes so long, I forget about it, fall asleep on the couch and then have to figure out what to do w/it at 11:00 at night when I can barely stand up. I like this 45 minutes idea....do you recommend a brand of pressure cooker?

  2. I have a Fagor basic and I love it. The Rikon is top of the line but the Fagor is comparable but more affordable. Thanks for reading! And thanks for lunch and the exploratory shopping expedition today. :).

  3. I love my pressure cooker too! I'm on my third one now, and honestly, I just couldn't imagine life without it!

  4. I dont see myself getting a pressure cooker anytime soon but I must say that was PRETTY COOL. Your pictures are great-very rich.