A chicken simmering in a pot. Sounds like tradition, doesn’t it? A recipe passed down from generation to generation. “Let the chicken bubble on the stove during a lazy Sunday afternoon…”
[Imagine sound of record scratch here. Or for you kids today, imagine a youtube video getting all pixelated. ]
When I have a whole chicken1, and I want chicken soup, I simmer it…in my pressure cooker.
Cooking a whole chicken is a balancing act. The white meat needs to be just barely cooked enough, and the dark meat needs to be cooked well past the point of doneness. This broth is thinner than my other chicken stock recipe, because I don’t cook it as long – I’m trying to save the breast meat from overcooking. The wet environment of the pressure cooker helps the white meat – it’s not perfect, like it would be if you cooked it on its own – but it’s good, especially if you moisten it with a little broth (or use it in soup).
Beyond that, this recipe is straightforward. Cut the chicken into pieces and put it in the pot. Add some aromatics, cover with water, and pressure cook 25 minutes in a stove top PC, 30 in an electric PC, like I use. Let the pressure come down naturally. Scoop out the chicken and let it cool while you strain the broth. Shred the chicken, and you’re ready. Chicken soup? Bring the broth to a boil, add some noodles, and maybe some vegetables…but that’s a story for later this week.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Chicken Broth and Shredded Chicken
- 6 quart or larger Pressure Cooker (I love my Instant Pot Electric PC)
Pressure Cooker Chicken Broth – simmer a whole chicken, cut into pieces, to make broth and shredded chicken for use in other recipes.
- 1 (4 pound) chicken, cut up into thigh, drumstick, wing and breast pieces
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
- 1 rib celery, cut into 2 inch chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups water
- Stack the ingredients in the pot: Sprinkle the chicken pieces evenly with salt. Make a layer of the dark meat in the bottom of the pressure cooker pot – stack the thighs, drumsticks, and wings. Add the aromatics in a layer – the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Put the breasts on top, add the bay leaf, and pour the 8 cups of water over everything.
- Pressure cook for 25 minutes stove top PC/30 minutes electric PC, with natural pressure release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring it up to high pressure, and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes in a stove top pressure cooker, or 30 minutes in an electric pressure cooker. Let the pressure come down naturally – about 20 minutes. Unlock the lid and carefully open it away from you – the steam is scalding hot.
- Shred the chicken, strain the broth: With tongs and a slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board and let them cool. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it, discarding the skin, bones, and gristle. At this point, the chicken and broth are ready – use them right away if you want to. (If you have one, let the broth settle in a fat strainer for five minutes.) Or, refrigerate for up to 3 days, then scrape the fat off the top of the broth before using. Or, freeze for up to 3 months, scraping the frozen fat off of the broth. I freeze the broth and shredded chicken separately. The broth goes in 2 cup and 4 cup containers. I spread the shredded chicken in a layer in a gallon zip-top bag, flatten it out through the plastic, zip the bag shut, and freeze flat.
- Don’t feel like cutting up the chicken? You don’t have to – but it is easier to arrange the pieces in the pot so they are completely covered with water. If you have a whole bird, put it in the pot, breast side up. It doesn’t hurt if the breast doesn’t completely submerge – that whole “don’t overcook the breast” thing.
- Not in the mood for soup? That’s OK, use the shredded chicken now, and freeze the broth for later. Shredded chicken is great on salads, in sandwiches, as a taco filling, or any other place you need a little protein.
- Want a heartier chicken stock? Use the carcass from a roasted chicken with one of the pressure cooker chicken stock recipes in the “Related Posts” section.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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