Seems like all the world is talking about right now is Making a Murderer and the Instant Pot. Both have certainly taken social media by storm, and both are sure high on my favorites list right now, too!
If you haven’t seen MaM, it is essential educational viewing. Having been the victim of the Just Us system, I can vouch for every slimy move made by the real bad guys here. Oh, don’t get me started.
But let’s talk about something fun… like FOOD, a favorite topic. And chicken, a favorite food. The last few years, we’ve raised and processed our own so we usually have a freezer full of whole birds. It is hugely satisfying to eat what you’ve raised, be it lettuce or bird. We raise our GMO-free Freedom Rangers on organic feed in movable tractors like Joel Salatin teaches. Good, real, nutrient-dense food.
We ate the last of our chickens in the fall, though, so last week I bought five 4.5 pounders ($105 for all 5) from Mac, a local organic farmer. At $4/lb, that’s less than it costs us to raise our own! Worth every penny.
Despite Tyson’s eloquent denial, there’s no way in heck I’m taking a chance on eating a chicken sent to China for processing, then shipped back to the states. No, no, no.
Around here, the trouble comes when it’s dinner time, everyone is STARVED and I haven’t planned ahead (because, well, I
rarely never do). Before the Instant Pot, we’d stand around the kitchen island eating organic chips with slices of habañero cheese and salami. And olives, if there are any. Drinking kombucha (me) and beer (Hal and the boys). Not bad, tres casual, but not really “supper.”
Well, NOT ANY MORE!!! We have real meals now: chicken, pot roast, soup from scratch, squash. ALL LAST MINUTE. When I say I love my Instant Pot, I am not kidding.
II’m not alone, either: it’s got over five thousand reviews, 1000 answered questions and 4.5 stars on Amazon! People love this thing. You will, too. Click here to get your own instant pot! I use mine all the time.
Then you can make Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Stew, from frozen to fab in one hour. And so easy, seriously wicked easy. Here you go:
How to Make Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Stew
After you’ve got the IP unpacked, washed, rubber seal installed, condensation collector popped on, just set it on the counter and plug it in.
Put the trivet in there (comes with the IP), put your frozen chicken on it, add 1.5 cups water or broth, put on the lid. The IP makes a cute little tinkling noise when you lock the lid in place.
Make sure the steam release knob on the back is turned toward the back of the IP. When it’s turned away, the IP holds in the pressure. When it’s turned in, it releases pressure.
Press “Poultry” on the front. You’ll see “30” on the front panel — this denotes cooking time and 30 minutes is the default. Also, a light goes on under High Pressure (HP).
Push the plus button till the timer goes from 30 to 45 minutes. Ten seconds after the last button is pushed, the timer will read “On” while the pressure builds.
Getting the pressure up takes 10 minutes in our neck of the woods. Some steam will escape the float valve as the pressure builds. Then the float valve rises up to block the hatch and you’ll see no more steam. The lid will also lock in place, you’ll hear a click.
If you see steam escaping anywhere else — around the lid or via the steam release valve, then you have a leak. Either the rubber gasket is not well seated, the steam release is not closed or the anti-block shield is dirty or not seated. Press “Cancel” (lower right of panel), fix the leak and start again. Just takes a sec. Ask me how I know.
Once the pressure is up and the lid is truly locked (you can’t get the lid off until the pressure is released and the float valve drops), the timer shows 45 minutes and starts counting down.
When it gets to zero, the timer beeps and shows L0:00 (L for Low and 0:00 for hours:minutes). Then it starts counting up so you know how many minutes it’s been since the cooking stopped. Very handy!
I do Quick Release (QR in IP jargon) for the Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Stew. You can do Natural Release (NR), meaning you let the pressure subside on its own, takes about 15 minutes for this. Just remember that adds cooking time to the meal so you have to adjust.
To QR, reach around and, from underneath, push the steam release valve toward you. The steam bursts out of there so make sure your face and hands are not hovered over the it! I do this on my stove top so the steam goes out the exhaust rather than onto my ceiling or cabinets. It takes 2 minutes to release the steam at which point the float valve drops.
OK, open the lid.
Stick a fork in the bird and see if there’s any blood (there shouldn’t be). Then see if a leg or wing pulls off easily which means it’s cooked. This one is not q-u-i-t-e done… the leg is still attached and lifting the bird.
If your bird needs more time, put the lid on and do 10 more minutes. Oh, don’t forget to push the pressure release valve back to closed or the pressure will escape and the bird won’t get cooked… Yeah, ask me how I know to remind you 🙂
Oh, if the bird has fallen apart, then 45 minutes was too long. Altitude makes a difference, weight of bird makes a difference. Depending on your elevation, your cooking time might be more or less.
Once the bird is done, add cut up veggies and spices. We like potatoes, yams, carrots, onions, celery and Rosemary — my favorite spice with chicken. I toss them in and do five minutes more on HP.
The IP will cook the life right out of your veggies! Eight minutes is too much around here… five seems to be right.
Once the veggies are done, put in a big bowl and serve. Deeeeelicious! If the veggies aren’t overcooked, it’s also really pretty. Sorry, no picture of this beautiful stew. Like I say, they were starved… I turned my back for a minute and everybody dug in. Next time, I’ll be ready with the camera!
OH! Don’t wash the pot yet. We have Instant Pot Chicken Broth plans.
After the meal, pick the chicken and save the meat for next meal. Put the bones, any leftover veggies and anything else you have (older unattractive but still edible veggies, spices, extra chicken feet, etc.) into the pot with a T. of vinegar. Fill the pot with water — this holds a gallon — and let sit for 30 minutes so the vinegar can do it’s magic, leeching the minerals out of the bones.
Then put on the lid, keep the steam release valve turned toward you (you’re not going HP this time) and push “Slow Cook” on the front. The default time for slow cooking is four hours. Push the plus till it hits 13 hours. The next day depending on what’s going on, I’ll either strain the broth into two 1/2 gallon Ball jars or maybe cook another 13 hours, then strain and put in fridge. (We use broth pretty quickly around here so I rarely freeze.)
Nothing goes to waste with this dish, and quick clean up. Try it and let me know what you think!
P.S. Is Pressure Cooking Healthy? Here’s the answer I’m going with (YES)!