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Fast Food

Heidi NawrockiFast food. And no, I don't mean McDonalds. Or Burger King. I mean pressure cooking. Don't be alarmed, though. Pressure cookers nowadays aren't at all like the ones I remember from my youth. Those cookers that made you afraid you might have to run for your life or end up with chicken bits all over you.

Last year around the first of the year, I had been doing some reading on pressure cooking. With a new baby coming soon, the thought of having a chicken cooked to perfection in the pressure cooker in under an hour was fantastic. My husband surprised me with an electric pressure cooker for my birthday. I'll admit, it was a little intimidating. But, I knew, as with anything else, a little practice and use would go a long way.

We started out cooking our dried beans in it. It works wonderfully for cooking them as long as you remember to soak your beans overnight. We found last year in our garden that dried beans are quickly going to become a favorite. Plant some seeds, watch them grow, watch them wither, and then harvest the beans. We put our beans in some re-purposed containers and now have a good stash built up.

But, back to the pressure cooker. Along with dried beans, I've also cooked up some beef roasts in it. It has produced some melt in your mouth meals out of tough cuts of meat. I've finally gotten around to the chicken. We purchased a local chicken last weekend at our local winter farmers' market. After thawing in the fridge a few days, it was ready to go.

chicken in the pressure cooker

It took about 40 minutes, but it was definitely juicy! After enjoying the chicken for dinner and cleaning off the bones, we threw the bones back in the cooker along with some herbs, carrots, onion, and garlic. Another 45 minutes and we had a thick, delicious stock to use.

Stock before

The one chicken lasted us for four meals. We enjoyed some leftovers the next day and two days of soup with either stock or leftover diced-up chicken. I have always cooked my chicken in the slow cooker before, but I think I am hooked on the pressure cooker method. It's faster and, in my opinion, produces a much juicier chicken.

The model of pressure cooker we have has a number of features. We have used the brown feature to brown meat before cooking. There is also a slow cook feature. I'm hoping to try it out soon and, if it works well, I can eliminate the slow cooker from my appliance arsenal.

Do you use a pressure cooker? What's your favorite meal to make with it? Drop me a line at House on the Hill WV or on Facebook.