Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fast Food

Nope. Not McDonalds. Or Chic Ole as Kole likes to call it. Dinner in the pressure cooker! I got a pressure cooker last year for my birthday after making some comments about how neat it would be to cook a whole chicken in an under hour.

I finally got around to doing that. I love the pressure cooker for pot roasts. It has a knack for making some melt in your mouth goodness out of a tough cut of meat. And it is a lifesaver for our dried beans. An overnight soak, a few minutes in the pressure cooker, and we have beans ready for any recipe.

We picked up a whole chicken on Sunday at the Winter Market. We hope one day to raise our own meat birds, but until then we are so grateful there is a farm nearby that raises chicken. And pork. And lamb. And rabbit. They pretty much raise everything.

Here's the pressure cooker. No, it's not your grandma's pressure cooker. No jiggly knob at the top. No cowering in fear that the lid might explode off and leave you with chicken bits everywhere. This baby is electric. The model we have has options for browning meats, slow cooking, and keeping things warm. While I haven't tried the slow cook option, I hope to soon so I can eliminate the slow cooker from my cabinet.

Here's the bird in all it's wonderfulness. It looks a little brown and that's because I browned it before cooking. This bird was 4 pounds. I don't think I'd want something much bigger to fit comfortably in the pot.

I followed a few ideas I found online and most indicated that for a 4 pound bird, it should only take 25 minutes at high pressure. At 25 minutes, it definitely was not done. It took around 45 minutes total for the thermometer to register 180 in the breast. The meat was moist and it was gobbled up at dinner.

When we cook chicken in the slow cooker, we usually throw all the bones and skin back in and let it cook on low overnight to make stock. From what I've read, the pressure cooker is the way to go for stock! So, after removing the meat, we threw the bones and such back in the pot. I added some carrots, garlic, bay leaves, and salt. It's cooking now and I'm excited to see how it turns out!

Do you have a pressure cooker? What's your favorite meal to make in it?

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