Posts Tagged ‘pressure cooker’

This was one of my dad’s favorite dishes that I can remember from my childhood. It was usually always served for his birthday and maybe one other time a year, but this was not something typically made in the home. For me, Chicken and Dumplings is comforting and healing the way Matzo Ball Soup is for my Jewish friends. I simply cannot get enough and there is no pot that can ever make enough dumplings.

I think it’s because the length of cook time can be incredibly long if you make your own chicken stock (which I cannot recommend enough). But if you utilize a pressure cooker, this dish can be put together in about 75 minutes from start to finish. And if you don’t have a pressure cooker, do yourself a favor and still make your own chicken stock ahead of time.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 lbs chicken, shredded
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp thyme, fresh
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4c chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Place the chicken stock and shredded chicken in a large stock pot. You can add some of the vegetables from the chicken stock or you can add some fresh celery, carrots, and/or onions to the pot. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. If adding fresh vegetables, allow 20 minutes or so to soften before eating.

2. Place the butter in the bottom of a medium size stock pot over high heat. When the butter has mostly melted, add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. The flour will immediately soak up the liquid and form a dough. Cook this until the color turns a mustard-ish yellow.

3. Place the dough in a mixing bowl with the two eggs. Mix with a hand mixer until the mixture just comes together. The batter should be thick like cake batter. You do not want to over mix this. Season with pepper if you wish. Add the thyme to the dough and fold in with a wood spoon.

3. Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter into the simming chicken stock. When you have filled the pot, cover with a tight fitting lid. Allow the dumplings to cook for 10 – 15 minutes until they are puffed, but firm.

4. Ladle the soup mixture into a wide mouth bowl. Ensure everyone gets a sufficient amount of dumplings. Garnish with more fresh thyme.

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It’s very easy to make your own chicken stock. I’m as guilty as every one else in that I just don’t want to be troubled. You have to buy the ingredients, simmer for hours upon hours, and in the end, you still have to put the stock into containers and freeze them. This is not nearly as easy as picking up a box at the supermarket that you can keep in your pantry until you open it.

But in the spirit of healthier living, I wanted to experiment with making my own stock. The results were astonishing and I don’t think I can ever really go back to the boxed version unless I’m in a pinch. The flavor is much more rich and if you have a particular palette, you can tailor the stock to your exact specifications. Have a low sodium diet? This would work wonderfully for you too.

To speed up the process, I’ve used my pressure cooker here which cuts the entire experience and saved me more than 3 hours.

Ingredients

  • 3 – 4 lbs chicken legs or thighs
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 8 peppercorns

1. Place the chicken in bottom of your pressure cooker. Cover with the vegetables, pepper corns, and 2 tbsp salt. Pour in 2 quarts of water (it should cover everything). Close the lid of the cooker and bring up to high pressure. When the pressure cooker is steaming, lower the heat to the lowest setting and allow to cook for 45 minutes.

2. After releasing the steam safely, line a colander with cheese cloth and place over another large pot or container. Pour the contents of the pressure cooker into the colander and let strain for 5 minutes. Keep the chicken for a future meal. Or, if you are making soup or chicken and dumplings perhaps, these vegetables are wonderful additions.

3. If you want to remove a large portion of the fat, let the chicken stock cool and place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, the fat will have hardened which you can remove easily.

4. Stock will keep refrigerated for up to a week or freeze up to 6 months.

When I was growing up, I often tried to help my Dad by carrying the tools or shining a  flashlight whenever he was making repairs to the house or the family car. Something inevitably would go wrong and he always cursed his lack of the proper tools. Even today, we still joke about never having the right tool for the job.

I only bring this up because risotto intimidates many people, but it would be made incredibly simple by having the right tool for the job. In my Boston Baked Beans post, I mention the versatility of the pressure cooker and how it can make you life easier and introduce you to a whole new realm of cuisine. Here is yet another delightful application that can be made from start to finish in less than 20 minutes.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 lb scallops (U-12 preferred)
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 2 c Arborio rice
  • 1 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c White wine
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 tbsp butter
1. Take the scallops out of the refrigerator and set on the counter. Mince the onion and add to a pressure cooker with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Sweat the onion for 3 minutes ensuring you do not caramelize the onion. Turn the heat up to high and add the rice to the onion and continue until the rice begins to toast.
     

2. Very carefully, add the white wine to the rice. Wait for the steam to subside and then add the chicken stock and lemon zest to the pot. Stir to combine.
     
Note: If you prefer a more deliberate lemon flavor in you risotto, add 1/4 c lemon juice and reduce the wine to 1/4 c.

3. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and bring up to the highest steam level possible. When the button has popped, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and set a timer for 7 minutes.

4. As the rice is cooking, put two sauté pans over high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter to each pan. When the fat is nearly smoking, add the scallops to the pans ensuring that the pan is not crowded and the scallops do not touch. DO NOT TOUCH the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the pan.

          


5. When the timer sounds, release the steam from the pressure cooker. Take the lid off and add the parmesan cheese and remaining butter. Stir and allow to melt.
     
6. Serve the scallops on top of a heaping pile of risotto. Garnish with lemon slices or quarters.

I love baked beans but I hate to wait for them. There’s the soaking, and the drying, and the mixing, and the baking for upward of 5 hours. A boy’s gotta eat and I can’t sit around all day waiting. Luckily, I have a pressure cooker that defies the rules of the kitchen and introduces intense amount of pressure that break the beans down quickly completing the meal from start to finish in around 30 minutes. This dish is sweet, sticky, and tangy and sure to become a family favorite.

If you don’t own a pressure cooker, I couldn’t recommend a piece of specialty kitchen equipment more. I bought mine to start canning my own preserves, but quickly found it had many more uses. It makes perfect risotto in under 10 minutes without ever needing to stand over the stove stirring, breaks down a pot roast to a perfect tenderness in around 40 minutes, and even makes chocolate cake. Cake, people! Cooked on the stove! If your in the market, I recommend the Fagor Duo. It’s made of high quality stainless steel, and has two pressure settings to maximize its uses.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 7 c cold water
  • 1 lb navy beans, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c (4 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp whole gain dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
1. Put the beans, water, bay leaves, and 1 tbsp olive oil in a pressure cooker. Secure the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure. Lower the heat to the lowest setting possible and cook for 15 minutes. Release the steam and drain the beans into a colander set over a bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid.
 
2. While the beans are cooking, saute the onion and garlic in a medium sauce pan over high heat. When the onion begins to brown, mix in the molasses, light brown sugar, tomato paste, mustard, and cinnamon. Turn the heat off and combine all ingredients.
 
3. Return the beans to the pressure cooker with the onion-molasses mixture and 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Secure the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Release the steam. If the beans are not tender, place the lid back on, but do not lock. Boil for an additional 5 – 10 minutes.
 
4. The sauce will thicken as it sits, but if you prefer, mash 1/2 cup of beans with a fork, return to the pan, and stir. Serve with hot dog slices if you wish.