Today is the last day of our Christmas holiday. We’re taking the ornaments off the tree, last minute homework is going on at the kitchen table, and the first snowstorm of the year is falling outside the window. We had a good time together over the holiday, and no one is looking forward to the return of the daily grind.1
The fun part of winter is over; all I want to do is curl up under a blanket until spring. Here is the next best thing – a straightforward chicken stew from the pressure cooker. Since I know the power of the dark side (of the chicken), I load it up with thighs, and then add potatoes to make it a one pot meal.
There are two finesse points to this recipe. The first is browning bone-in chicken thighs. It takes about twenty minutes to brown the chicken thighs – it takes two batches – but the extra time is worth it. Searing the chicken thighs adds roasted flavors to the stew, from the browned bits of chicken around the edges; also, it renders a lot of fat out of the chicken skin, so we can pour it off before continuing. Also, the bones add depth to the liquid – they give up some of their goodness, just like making stock. After the stew is cooked, I lift the chicken out with a slotted spoon, peel off the skin, remove the bone, and rough chop the meat before stirring it back in.
The second finesse point is floating the carrots and potatoes above the stew in a steamer basket. This keeps them above the liquid; they steam gently, instead of boiling (and overcooking) in the liquid of the stew.
Both of these finesse points can be skipped if you’re in a hurry – but if you don’t brown the chicken thighs, peel the skin off before adding them to the pot, so the stew doesn’t wind up too fatty.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Chicken Stew
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I use an Instant Pot Duo electric pressure cooker)
- Steamer basket (I use a collapsible basket)
Pressure Cooker Chicken Stew recipe – straightforward comfort food, with chicken thighs and new potatoes in a one pot meal.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 6 chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds) or a cut-up whole chicken
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/4 pound baby carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3/4 pound baby carrots
- 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes
- Sear the chicken in batches: Season the chicken with 2 teaspoons salt. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering. Brown the chicken in 2 batches, three pieces in each batch. (Don’t crowd the pot, or the chicken will steam instead of browning.) Sear the chicken for 4 minutes per side, or until well browned, then remove to a bowl and sear the next batch. Once all the chicken is browned, pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the cooker. (The chicken skin will release a lot of oil into the pot.)
- Sauté the aromatics: Add the onion, celery, sliced carrots, tomato paste, and thyme to the pot. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for five minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the white wine to the pot, bring to a simmer, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Simmer the wine until reduced by half – about 3 minutes.
- Everything into the pot: Stir in the chicken stock, then add the chicken thighs and any chicken juices from the bowl. Pour the tomatoes on top, but don’t stir. Put a steamer basket on top of everything in the pot – don’t worry if it’s a little submerged, it will be fine – and put the potatoes and carrots in the steamer basket.
- Pressure cook the stew: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring it up to high pressure, and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes in an electric PC, 25 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any pressure left in the pot.
- Shred and serve: Carefully lift the steamer basket of potatoes and carrots out of the pot, then scoop the chicken pieces out with a slotted spoon. Cut the potatoes in half, and then stir the carrots and potatoes back into the stew. Shred the chicken, discarding the skin, bones, and gristle, and stir the shredded chicken meat back into the stew. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary. (If you used homemade chicken stock, it will definitely need more salt.) Serve.
- I made baked potatoes and smothered them with this stew. I know that sounds a little strange, since there were already potatoes in the stew…but it was fantastic.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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