How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Pressure Cooker

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Whole chickens are cheaper per pound than almost any other cut of meat in your supermarket. In these days of ever rising prices its important to think of ways to stretch our budgets and anyone with a pressure cookers already know how economical they are.

Using whole chickens as a way to save money may be a new idea to many cooks, but it is one of the smartest ways to save money. In a previous article I took you through the simples steps of cutting up a whole chicken, now lets look at some of the ways you can use a whole chicken in recipes.

Steam Roasted Whole Chicken

To start, we are going to precook a whole chicken in pressure cooker using the steam roasting method. Remove the giblets and reserve for other recipes, but do add the neck to the pot. It is easier to move the bird, and will keep the wings and legs from falling off once the cooking is finished. Be sure to use foil helper strips under the bird to make it easier to remove from the cooker. Add 2/3 cup water and place the bird on the rack, raising it above the water level. Lock the lid in place and bring to pressure over high heat, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting that will maintain pressure. Cook 25 minutes. Let the pressure drop naturally. Be sure to save the broth for gravy or stock. Preheat the oven to 400F. Transfer chicken to a roasting pan with a rack. Baste the chicken with melted butter or margarine and cook about 15 minutes or until the skin is nicely browned, basting often. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and carve.

You can find many other chicken recipes in the recipe section. For specific cooking times for chicken see the Cooking Time Charts.

Shredded chicken

After the chicken has been cooked, it can be shredded to use for several purposes. Shredded chicken is good for making sandwiches, adding to salads, and is used as an ingredient in many different dishes.

To shred chicken, use two forks and insert the prongs, back sides facing each other, into the center of a portion of meat. Pull the forks gently away from each other, causing the meat to break into thin strips. Continue the process until the entire piece has been pulled apart.

It's best to use it in well-seasoned dishes because much of the flavor has come out into the broth. Here are some suggested uses:

  • chicken sandwiches
  • shredded and combined with BBQ sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches
  • cubed for soups,stews, casseroles, potpies, stir fry and salads
  • shredded and used to stuff pitas, fajitas, tacos or burritos

Chicken Stock Using a Whole Chicken

Place the whole bird on the rack and cover with water. Use the neck, but not the liver or gizzard. Be sure to use foil helper strips under the bird to make it easier to remove from the cooker. Lock the lid in place and bring to pressure over high heat, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting that will maintain pressure and cook for 30 minutes. Let the pressure drop naturally. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. When the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the skin and pull the meat from the bones, separating the white and dark meat. Discard the skin, fat and bones. (If you have a dog or cat, it will love the remaining scraps and crumbly bones put through a blender or food processor to make chicken mush for addition to dry food.) The chicken meat can be frozen in portions for later use.

To proceed with the stock, measure 6 cups of broth, (freeze any remaining broth for later use) add water if needed to make 6 cups. 2 carrots cut into small pieces
2 celery stalks with leaves cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, unpeeled and cut into quarters
5 parsley sprigs (or cilantro)
1 tablespoon minced garlic; or 2 cloves, mashed
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
8 whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
In a large pressure cooker place all the ingredients listed and add the 6 cups of chicken broth. Lock the lid in place and bring to pressure over high heat, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting that will maintain pressure and cook for 30 minutes. Use the natural release. Drain broth through sieve or colander into a large bowl. Discard vegetable solids in sieve. Skim the fat (chill broth to make skimming easier)from the reserved broth.

At this point you have a rich stock that can be eaten as is for an excellent nutrition source. You may choose to eliminate the salt for those who are ill, children, or oldsters who have dietary problems. This stock is the base for great for soups, gravy, sauces, or to add flavor to many dishes. If you won't use it within a day, freeze it. I like to freeze some in ice cube trays, then store the cubes in a zipper freezer bag. This way I can add a little extra flavor to any dish that calls for it.

Homemade Chicken and Rice Soup

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1 cup chopped onion
2 cup sliced celery
2 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup uncooked white rice
cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
teaspoon black pepper
6 cups chicken stock (see recipe above)
1-1/2 cups cubed white meat chicken
2 tablespoons lime juice


Combine all ingredients except the chicken meat in a large pressure cooker. Lock the lid in place and bring to pressure over high heat, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting that will maintain pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Use the natural release. Remove bay leaf. Add the chicken meat and bring to a slow simmer without the lid, cooking until the meat is heated through. Adjust seasoning as needed before serving.

 
 

 

 

 

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