Pressure Cooked Chicken Broth – Lesson 6: Making Chicken Stock in the pressure cooker
A rich, flavorful stock can be had from parts of meat that you, or your butcher, would ordinarily discard and can be ready from start to finish in under an hour, plus an overnight cool in your fridge. Home-made stock is delicious on its own as a broth for any filled pasta, or great to use as a base for risotto.
Chicken Stock De-bunked and De-Gunked
In researching something as basic as making a chicken stock, I came across hundreds of methods, techniques and tips. I de-bunked some of the most time-consuming recommendations and boiled down pressure cooker stock-making to the most necessary steps.
No need to roast meat and bones to add flavor.
The most widely spread stock recipes suggest roasting the chicken carcass in the oven for an hour to add flavor. Roasting chicken carcass or bones prior to stock-making is unnecessarily time, energy and flavor consuming. It evaporates most of the liquid and juices that you want to incorporate in your stock!
Browning the bones and meat in the pressure cooker, prior to adding the vegetables and boiling, give you the exact same result in terms of color, and even better results terms of flavor. The best part: it just takes 5-7 minutes as opposed to an hour.
No need to chop veggies, onion skins stay on.
Some top cooking websites use chopped vegetables in their step-by-step photos for stock-making. You are making stock, and not soup! Leaving vegetables whole makes them easier to fish out, keeps your stock clear of vegetable matter, and lets you re-use them if you like (though they will have lost most of their flavor).
Onion skins: another area of conflicting advice. Leave the skin of your onions on they will add color and richness to the broth (the dirty root and tip ends come off!).
No need to skim fat and scum.
Another widely written recommendation, suggest you stand over an open pan of boiling stock for the first hour and skim the fat and “scum” as it raises to the top for a clearer broth. This is another completely unnecessarily time-consuming step. If you let the broth cool, and then refrigerate overnight, you can get that nice layer of scum (which will remain at the top) and fat (which will rise to the top when chilled) in about 5 minutes or less – and usually encased in one, convenient, solid piece of fat.
A little acid will do ya good.
Acidic ingredients not only add flavor, but also extract even more collagen and cartilage from the bones making the soup more nutritious. This recipe uses a tomato for acid, but a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice, a dash of wine or a teaspoon of vinegar (balsamic, anyone?) will do the same thing. Don’t over do it!
Pressure Cooker Recipe: Chicken Stock
Wash and very roughly divide the vegetables as indicated. Preheat the pressure cooker on low heat for 2-3 minutes, then add a little swirl of olive oil. When that begins to shimmer, add the chicken carcass, pieces, etc. Turn the heat to medium and brown all of the pieces and bones well, turning frequently (about 7-10 minutes). Then, add the parsley, carrots, onion, tomato, celery and thyme and salt.
Pour in just enough water to cover the vegetables (about 8 cups or 2 liters). Close and lock the pressure cooker lid.
Turn the heat to high. The pressure cooker will take a longer than usual to reach pressure (about 10 minutes) since the pot will be nearly at maximum capacity. When pressure is reached, (with the model I’m using, the pressure cooker has reached pressure when the yellow indicator lifts up), turn the heat down to minimum and count 20 minutes cooking time under pressure.
When time is up, turn off the heat and move the pressure cooker to another burner to cool. Open it using the Natural Release method – which means don’t do anything and just wait for the pressure in the cooker to come down naturally and for the indicator go back to its “no pressure” position (about 10-15 minutes).
Pour stock through strainer into a large mixing bowl. Let the ingredients cool enough for you to pick through them and pull out any remaining chicken meat and vegetables- set this aside to use with the broth as a chicken soup or as a filling for other recipes (be aware that there will be very little chicken flavor left in the meat but it is still great to eat with a mix of fresh veggies, or combined with other ingredients as a filling.
Let the liquid cool for about an hour before covering with plastic-wrap and putting in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, take the stock out of the refrigerator and spoon off all of the fat and scum that has gathered at the top. If it has not solidified (it can depend on how much fat was on the pieces of chicken you used for the stock), you can remove the top layer by dropping an open paper-towel over the top and removing it as soon as it has begun to absorb – you may need to do this several times with new paper towels to fully remove to top layer and clarify the stock.
Now, you have concentrated chicken stock that you can use as-is, or add water for a milder flavor. Keep in the fridge for up to three days or freeze portioned in plastic baggies for up to three months.
To make the recipe photographed, below. I simply brought the stock to a boil, added stuffed pasta (ricotta-filled tortellini would be a good) and boiled for the time indicated on the package. The pasta in the photo is called ciuffettini – little tufts.
Try the next Beginner Basics Lesson: Pistachio Crusted Beef Roast a jus with Carrots and Potatoes – One pot meal or view the entire Beginner Basics Course outline!
Now that you can make stock with your pressure cooker, you can make…
Pssssst! Do you want to learn more about the pressure cookers that I’m using? See them described on my About page!