By now you all know probably one of the BEST kitchen appliances I have ever purchased was my Electric Pressure Cooker. This thing truly is revolutionary and a God send for me. No you don’t understand just how much I respect this thing. I am one that honestly has truly limited free time so while I cook every day I still have other stuff to do. Plus I’m human, even I need some down time. That’s where this Electric Pressure Cooker truly comes into play.
I get up at 3:30 am M-F (5:30am on the weekends) just because, well I do. I don’t sleep a lot so you’d think I’d have more time than most but unfortunately I don’t. I’m constantly on the go between my day job, TKW (Thank you as it’s because of you that I’m so busy with that!), normal daily stuff, working out and trying to have some type of quality time with Mr. Fantabulous. So on those days when I get home from work only to realize that I forgot to take stuff out for dinner or I’ve changed my mind on what we’re having, I reach for my Electric Pressure Cooker.
Mr. Fantabulous was in the mood for chicken and we were short on time. Since I knew I could rock wings in this Electric Pressure Cooker, why not see what whole chicken breasts could do, right? As I was figuring out how to make this, seasonings and so forth a comment my best friend Vanessa said to me popped back into my head. She said “Lor, you should do a series on leftovers and how you can turn them into something new. I have a hard time with that and I’m sure your TKW Family does as well.”
Okay seriously this girl is amazing. I love how she gives me suggestions and ideas like this. So on a side note, I’m working on that series in an upcoming post.
So as I was prepping this, which literally includes putting the meat in the pressure cooker, spices and some type of liquid. As I thought about it I realized that if I kept the seasonings pretty standard that I could also use the liquid as stock. Now feel free to add in whatever spices you want – I’ve added in chipotle powder, garlic and onion powder, oregano and so forth. Really the skies the limit on this. And if you wanted you can even use the BBQ sauce from my pressure cooker Bourbon Honey BBQ wings in this!
In just 10 minutes I had 4 huge chicken breasts that were just incredibly moist and juicy with such amazing concentrated flavors. One of them I shredded with 2 forks and my word it shredded beautifully! I’m talking it just fell apart practically! The other 3 I let cool to room temperature. Once cooled I cubed one for a killer avocado chicken salad with toasted pecans, cranberries, red onions and greek yogurt (cause lord knows I loathe mayo!). The third one I sliced up, made a quick pan gravy with some of the stock and smothered the chicken slices with that alongside some creamy mashed potatoes. The last one I tossed in some bbq sauce, caramelized some onions, fried up some bacon and placed it on some pizza dough with sharp cheddar and chives. WOW amazing! So literally right there… 4 different dishes out of a single recipe AND I haven’t even touched the stock yet! Pretty friggen awesome, huh?
Now if you’ve ever made poached chicken breasts the traditional way it’s not exactly the fastest. First you have to bring the ingredients just to a simmer over medium-high heat where bubbles start forming around the edge of the pot. Next you have to reduce the heat to medium-low to keep temperature constant, about 170 to 180 degrees which is a pain in the butt. THEN you have to cook it for another 15-20 minutes. And then maybe it’s done. But the flavor, yeah no… I’ve made it that way and it’s just not the same. I will never poach chicken that way ever again.
In this recipe you can see I used boneless, skinless breasts. In any rich chicken stock you want to use bone-in chicken and or the entire chicken. One of the best benefits about using a pressure cooker to make stock at is that it speeds the process up quite a bit, and helps seal in flavor that otherwise boils off into the air as the stock simmers and steam. A very basic chicken stock is a pretty simple thing to make. It’s made with water, chicken, aromatic vegetables like onion, carrot, and garlic, and then herbs. There really is no right or wrong way when it comes to what you add to the stock herb-wise; it truly is a personal preference. For a full-bodied, richer stock toss in some bones, even leftover chicken carcasses with help boost up the flavor profile of the stock.
I’d say the biggest thing to learn about using this pressure cooker is realizing that it is not a simple plug in and insta-pressure. It has to build up the pressure first. So sure to cook under pressure the recipe takes 10 minutes but it also takes about 10 minutes to build up the pressure first. While it’s heating up and building pressure the unit is locked to prevent you from getting injured. Trust me, hot steam to the face or skin is not fun at all.
Now let’s talk the benefits of pressure cooking this. Study after study has shown that the longer you cook food and the more liquid you use the more nutrients you lose. Water-soluble vitamins and minerals are simply cooked out and washed away. Pressure cooking helps retain the quality of the foods you cook with by preparing them quickly and with very little water. Meats stay juicy and moist. By cooking with superheated steam natural flavors are often intensified.
The best way to destroy vitamins is to cook your food in an open pot of boiling water. Yeah doesn’t sound so awesome boiling chicken now does it? To retain the most nutrients possible, most experts recommend that you use as little water as possible and cook foods rapidly because many vitamins are sensitive to water, heat and air exposure (vitamin C, the B vitamins and folate in particular) and water used for cooking can dissolve and wash away water soluble vitamins, while the heat deteriorates them.
The longer the cooking time and the higher the temperature, the worse it becomes. It is best to choose the cooking method that most optimizes and preserves the nutrients in food. In a study published by Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, researchers investigated effects of various means of cooking broccoli. Up to 97 percent of certain antioxidant compounds were destroyed by microwaving, while steaming the broccoli caused only 11 percent loss. Therefore, any cooking that minimizes the time, temperature, and water will help to preserve nutrients. Pressure cooking under steam is one of the methods best because it minimizes time and requires little water.
All in all, this recipe is incredible and you will never think of poached chicken as boring ever again. It’s honestly one of the best ways I’ve ever made chicken and the only way from now on I will poach it. The flavors are just incredible. So if you don’t have an Electric Pressure Cooker I strongly urge you to save up, put it on your wish list or whatever to invest in one. This one is the best one for me and I have zero issues or complaints with it. I LOVE it!
- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large breasts), thawed
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion (leave the skin on), rough chopped
- 2 whole cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 4 Tbl rough chopped parsley
- In an Electric Pressure Cooker add all of the ingredients.
- Lock the lid and set the pressure to high for 10 minutes.
- As soon as the pressure cooker timer goes off, do a quick release.
- Once the pressure is released, remove the lid and pulled out the poached chicken breasts.
- Place a strainer over a large bowl and strain the stock.
- Allow the stock to cool and remove the fat.
- Save the stock for another use by either storing in the fridge or placing the freezer.
- This chicken can be used a bajillion ways now – salads, sandwiches, pizza toppings, anything.
Suggestions on Spice Mixtures to add:
3/4 tsp chipotle powder, 1 1/2 tsp garlic and 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp oregano, plus the parsley, pepper and salt.
If you want the chicken to have more of a chicken soup taste go with 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, plus the salt/pepper and parsley.
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