Lemon and Olive Ligurian Pressure Cooker Chicken – Lesson 5: Braise and Glaze
This recipe uses all of the pressure cooking techniques you learned in the previous lessons and tacks on a couple more, to help meat reach maximum velocity flavorage!
If the finely chopped herbs and garlic in the marinate remind you of pesto, you would be in the right culinary region. Dishes from this Northern Italian region are often made with lots, and lots of herbs and garlic and this chicken dish is no exception.
When making chicken dishes in the pressure cooker, I prefer o use a whole chicken, because, I get three recipes out of one chicken. I cut it up and save the skin and carcass for the stock and incorporate the giblets into a pate’. If you don’t want to make stock right away, put the carcass in a ziploc bag and store it in your freezer for your next stock-making session (see the chicken stock-making lesson). You can freeze the giblets until you have eaten enough whole chickens to make pate’ (though I usually cannot wait that long, and often add my the giblets to a nice big package of chicken livers)! To learn how to cut pieces from a whole chicken, follow the directions from my favorite instructional video purveyor: Free Culinary School: How To Butcher A Chicken.
Braising is a method of cooking with a small amount of liquid, with the meat partly immersed in it – as opposed to boiling where the meat is completely covered or steaming where the meat does not come into contact with the liquid at all.
For the perfect braise…
- Time Check. Although the rule of thumb is to go about 1/3 of your regular recipe time, it really depends cut per cut. So check the recommended cooking time for your specific cut of meat in your instruction manual or my Timing Chart and to find the time listed for your meat.
- Liquid Infusers. The braising liquid is the star here and will infuse the meat with boundless flavor. The liquid could be wine, beer, water, broth, milk, tomato sauce, and peppered up with various herbs and spices (see more tips, below).
- Minimum Liquid. Use the least amount of liquid recommended for your pressure cooker model, usually 1-2 cups of liquid. Remember, the meat will release its own juices, too! What liquid remains after cooking can more quickly be reduced.
When combining traditional cooking techniques with pressure cooking, you can have the most beautifully browned, tender and flavorful meat – fast!
You don’t need to do all of these things at once, though the recipe below uses most of them, but just adding one or two of these techniques to your next pressure cooked meat dish will bring you amazing flavor results!
My tips for delicious meat from your pressure cooker:
- Check for size, really! There is nothing more disappointing than bringing home a beautiful cut of meat with plans for quick-cooking and then discovering that it does not fit in the pressure cooker. Unless bones are an issue, cut it to smaller pieces or squeeze in as much as you can (without exceeding the maximum capacity). The good news: it will shrink.
- Fresh Herbs. Whenever possible use fresh! Pressure cooking has a tendency to infuse the flavor of every ingredient in the pan, together. You want the herbs to give their fresh oils and water to your recipe, instead of trying to absorb it. You can also toss them in whole, stems and all, before closing your pressure cooker and let the cooking pick the leaves. Just remember to fish out the woody stem before serving!
- Marinate. If time allows, marinate meat before cooking. It’s a great way to fully coat the exterior and get the tenderizing process underway. You can make a marinade out of any combination of herbs, spices, garlic, fat and acid, plus salt and pepper:
- Herbs Like: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Fennel, Mint, ect.
- Spices Like: Cumin, Paprika, Hot Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, ect.
- Fats Like: Butter, Oil, Lard, Mayonnaise (which contains oil),
- Acids Like: juice from any citrus, wine (only white, unless you want purple meat), vinegar, mustard (which contains vinegar), buttermilk, ect.
- Brown and Sear. This, and broiling, are the only steps during pressure cooking that will add nice color and flavor to the meat. Even when making soups or stews, never skip this step (read more about browning in the pressure cooker)!
- Braise. Use just a little flavored liquid, (see description above).
- De-glaze. To incorporate flavor and un-stick meat from the pan prior to pressure cooking (read more about de-lgazing in the pressure cooker).
- Reduce Glaze or Gravy it. When finished cooking, let the meat rest in its serving dish, tented with tin foil for a few mintes. In the meantime you can reduce the cooking liquid. Reduce to about half and thicken with potato starch or butter and flour for a gravy. Reduce even more, to about 1/4 of the original quantity into a syrupy consistency and put meat back in the pan to coat the meat with this syrupy, sticky meaty goodness.
- Broil. This is the best-kept secret in pressure cooking. Put all of your meat on a heat-proof serving dish and put it under the broiler in your oven for just a couple of minutes to add that beautifully “singed”, look and taste. You will see this technique in action, to caramelize the top of a cake, in the last lesson of this series!
Pressure Cooker Recipe: Lemon and Olive Ligurian Chicken
1 Chicken, cut into parts or package of bone-in chicken pieces, skin removed (or not)
Prepare the marinade by finely chopping together the garlic, rosemary, sage, and parsley. Place them in a container and add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
Remove the skin from the chicken (save it for a chicken stock), place the chicken in a deep dish and cover well with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
In the preheated pressure cooker, with the lid off, add a swirl of olive oil and brown the chicken pieces on all sides for about 5 minutes (read more about browning in the pressure cooker). If you have a large, wide pressure cooker you can do these pieces all at once. Otherwise, brown half at a time and then pull them all out and set aside.
De-glaze pan with the white wine (read more about de-glazing in your pressure cooker)until it has almost all evaporated (about 3 minutes).
Add the chicken pieces back in – this time being careful with the order. Put all dark-meat (wings, legs, thighs) first, and then delicately drape the chicken breasts on top so that they do not touch the bottom of the pressure cooker. Pour in all of the marinade on top. Don’t worry if this does not seem like enough liquid, the chicken will also release its juices into the pan, too. If your pressure cooker is 8 quarts or larger, or an older model with a jiggle or weight-modified valve ensure that the liquid is near the minimum recommended amount in your instruction manual.
Close and lock the lid and put the pressure cooker on high heat. When the pan reaches pressure (with this model, the yellow button pops up) and then count 8-10 minutes cooking time under high pressure.
When the cooking time is up, open the pressure cooker using the cold water quick-release method – bring the pan to the sink and run cold water on it making sure not to cover any of the valves. For electric pressure cookers, release pressure using the Automatic Release method – releasing pressure from the top by pushing a button or twisting a lever.
Take the chicken pieces out of pan again, and reduce the liquid in the pressure cooker, with the lid off, on medium-high heat to 1/4 of its amount, or until it becomes thick and syrupy (read more about reducing in your pressure cooker) .
Lower the heat to medium-low and put all of the chicken pieces back into the pressure cooker to warm up. Mix and spoon the thick glaze onto the chicken pieces and simmer it in the glaze for about 5 more minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, olives and lemon slices. When serving, caution your guests that the olives still have their pits!
Now that you can braise, you can try..
Pssssst! Do you want to learn more about the pressure cookers that I’m using? See them described on my About page!