Friday, January 18, 2019

Rainy Day Pressure Cooker Stock

Never, ever go to Costco when you are hungry; the smell of roasting chickens mixed with the smell of the baked goods will drive you mad, plus with the ladies and gents handing out free samples, you'll end up buying everything you don't need.  I make an exception with this rotisserie chicken, at $4.99 or thereabouts, it's cheap, it's huge and it's pretty tasty.  Costco sells about 100,000 of them per day and about 90 million a year.  The best thing about this classy chick is with just two of us here at home it will feed us for several meals in different iterations.  Editor's note, if you don't live near a Costco, Sam's Club also sells rotisserie chickens. 
San Diego has been rainy this past few days and my choices for dinner have been comfort foods.  I had bought a Costco rotisserie chicken earlier in the week, and once we'd had that for dinner, I saved the leftover carcass and juices, and today put them into the pressure cooker with some aromatics, and made stock.  If you have an Instapot or a pressure cooker this is the easiest way to get chicken stock in less than 40 minutes.  Once you have chicken stock, there are so ways to use it in recipes, but today I made chicken orzo soup.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock
Makes about 4 cups

1/2 onion, not peeled, coarsely chopped*
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery, coarsely, chopped
1 chicken carcass and any accumulated juices
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups water

Put the onion, carrot, celery and carcass into the pressure cooker or Instapot.  Add the thyme and water, secure the top. 

Simple ingredients
Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.  Allow the pressure to come down naturally, remove the top and strain the solids out, and skim off any fat from the top of the stock. 

Season with salt and pepper.  At this point you should have 4 cups of stock which you can refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months. 
Cook's Notes:
If you decide to change this up for a Mexican flavor, substitute 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and 1 lime, cut into quarters for the thyme. 
For an Italian soup:  Substitute 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary for the thyme.  
I usually don't save the chicken from the pressure cooker since its limp and given up all its flavor for the stock.  Cut off all the meat you want to use in the soup before you put the carcass in the pressure cooker, you should have a good 2 cups if you are making soup.
*Don't peel the onion, it adds color and nutrition to the stock.

Chicken Orzo Soup
Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage or thyme 
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cooked orzo pasta
2 cups finely chopped chicken
salt and pepper

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil or butter, saute the onion, carrot, celery and sage for 3 to 5 minutes.  

Add the stock, orzo and chicken.  

Simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 
Soup is good food
The rain storms are blowing East, so if you are in the path of this storm, you'll be getting snow, and this is the perfect soup for a stormy day.  If you aren't using your Instapot or pressure cooker to make stock you aren't taking advantage of these great appliances.  Click here for a link to my pressure cooker book, it's got over 350 recipes to use in your pressure cooker or Instapot.  Enjoy your weekend, Ciao for now.