When we first got a pressure cooker, little did I know that I'd be able to improve on my wife's recipe for chicken soup; a traditional recipe passed down from her grandmother. Not only does this recipe rival old fashioned chicken soup, it's done in only an hour. Comfort food in only one hour seems impossible, but not with a pressure cooker! You don't even need whole chicken - just the bones will produce the best tasting broth ever.
With the words Polar Vortex being heard every day in our recent weather forecasts, the acute winter conditions in our neck of the woods are begging for a hot steaming bowl of chicken soup. It's not just for the soul you know! I guarantee that if you try this soup, you won't be disappointed! What have you got to lose? If you made this recipe on the day the clocks go back you wouldn't even miss the hour it takes to make it!
Watch the video above. It took more time to write this Instructable than it did to make the soup!
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Step 1: Ingredients
- 1 Tblsp grapeseed oil
- 3 pounds chicken bones
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 quarts water
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 bay leaves
You may be wondering why there is no carrot or celery in this recipe. I find I don't miss the flavour and it's easy enough to add them in fresh when you're making a bowl of soup (vs. using the broth as a stock/ingredient).
You can get away with just using bones for your soup. There is enough meat left on the bones to extract meaty goodness and because the pressure cooker intensifies the flavour, you don't need to add any pieces of whole chicken. However, if you like chunks of chicken in your soup for the texture, feel free to add a piece or two and use the meat.
Step 2: Brown the Bones
Chop the onion and crush the garlic. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the chicken bones on all sides (3 minutes a side). Work in batches and transfer cooked chicken to a dish. Browning the bones builds flavour and brings out the umami in the meat that's left on the bones.
When you handle raw chicken, don't forget to wash your hands and utensils as you go so you don't spread bacteria around the kitchen.
Step 3: Cook Onion and Garlic
Once all the meat is removed, add the onion to the pressure cooker. Brown for at least 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds until you can smell the fragrance (don't forget to turn the stove fan on while you are cooking to extract the smells)!
Add 1 cup of the water and scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. That's the fond and it holds all the flavour so you want to incorporate that into the liquid before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Fill the water right up to the maximum line and add the bay leaves.
Step 4: Cook Under High Pressure for 1 Hour
Lock the pressure cooker lid and let it rip over medium-high heat. As soon as it reaches high pressure (you'll see the steam escaping), reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for one hour. Keep an eye on it to ensure it's maintaining high pressure. Adjust the heat if necessary during the cooking process.
Step 5: Release the Pressure
Turn the heat off and remove the pot from the element. Quick release the pressure. The red button pops up on our pressure cooker when it's safe to open. After the steam subsides, remove the lid being careful to let the hot steam escape away from you.
Step 6: Strain Broth
In a separate pot, strain the broth through a mesh strainer to separate out the bones from the broth. Put the bones into another container (I use a pyrex because it stands up to the heat). Let the bones cool and discard into the green bin.
If you want, you can strain the broth again but I don't bother.
There's sometimes chicken meat that can picked off the bones and either used in the soup or my wife has been known to snack on it as I cook off another batch of soup. Since it only takes an hour to cook each batch, I often do a few batches on the weekend to freeze.
Step 7: Cool It Fast
To cool down the broth faster, I put it into an ice bath in our sink. I freeze refilled water bottles just for the purpose. Sometimes I even add regular ice if I have it available.
Step 8: Refridgerate Overnight
Put a cork pad onto one of the shelves in your fridge and set the chicken soup on top. Let it rest overnight so the fat solidifies and can be removed the next morning.
Step 9: Remove Fat and Freeze
In the morning, remove the fat on top of the soup. You don't have to remove every spec. Portion out into containers so the soup can be frozen and enjoyed any time you need a comfort food fix! Don't forget to label your containers with the date so you know when the soup was made. It will keep in the freezer for several months, but it doesn't last that long in our household - especially during the winter!
Use this recipe as a stock in any number of comfort food dishes or make yourself a bowl of hot steaming chicken noodle soup. Add any fresh vegetables you prefer.
Runner Up in the
Comfort Food Challenge