This week, we picked up chicken leg quarters because they were on a good sale. Not that long ago, we wouldn’t have bought it because my family isn’t a fan of bone-in chicken. But now that we have a pressure cooker, I’m putting my food to work for me in a big way! I’m saving time by cooking my chicken ahead of time and then adding some things to the pot along with the bones to get even more out of the chicken.
Cook the Chicken
Sprinkle the skin of the chicken with kosher salt. How much you use depends on your personal preference. Place in the pressure cooker along with 4 cups of water and a teaspoon of peppercorns. Because of how you’re cooking the chicken, peppercorns work better than ground pepper.
Close the pressure cooker and bring to 15 pounds of pressure. On my Fagor pressure cooker, 15 pounds is setting #2. Once the cooker is to pressure, cook for 5-7 minutes at pressure for bone-in chicken pieces or 12-18 minutes for a whole, thawed chicken.
Release the pressure and remove the chicken from the pressure cooker. Allow the chicken to cool and pull all meat from the bones. Place the bones back into the pressure cooker. Take the cooked chicken you’ve pulled from the bones and portion one pound at a time into freezer bags. I do one pound to make it easy for using in recipes. Yes, this does mean we use a little bit more chicken than we would if it was precooked pounds, but that’s okay by my meat loving men.
I don’t put anything other than salt and pepper on the chicken at this point because I want it to be as versatile as possible later. Also, if I used specific seasonings (for example, most of today’s chicken will be going to enchiladas, so I could have used traditional Mexican seasonings) it wouldn’t be great for the next step…
Back in the pot
Now that your bones are back in with the water, go to the fridge and see what vegetables you have. Today, I’m using onion, celery, one green pepper and two small hot red peppers. Normally, I would put a couple of carrots in the pot as well, but I don’t have any in the kitchen and it’s all about keeping things simple. Add 2 more cups of water, garlic another teaspoon of peppercorns, a teaspoon of sage and one bay leaf into the pot.
Cover the pot and bring back to 15 pounds of pressure. Let the stock cook under pressure for 55 minutes and release the pressure. For the first strain, I simply dump everything into a strainer over a large bowl. This will get rid of all of the big pieces. Then, line your strainer with a cheesecloth and strain again. This will get the small bits, including any tiny bones, out of the stock and give you a clearer chicken stock.