Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Stew: Frozen to Fabulous in 60 Minutes!
Let's talk about something fun... like FOOD, a favorite topic. And chicken, one of my favorite foods.
Up until a couple of years ago, we raised and processed our own so we usually had a freezer full of whole birds. It is hugely satisfying to eat what you've raised, be it lettuce, squash or bird. We raised our GMO-free Freedom Rangers on organic feed in movable tractors like Joel Salatin teaches. Delicious, wholesome, nutrient-dense food.
Since we are surrounded by wonderful farmers who are raising/growing real food for a living, we buy from them now. Last week I bought ten 5 pounders for $4/lb (which is MUCH less than it costs us to raise our own!!!)
Yeah, that sounds expensive at first but wait till you know what that grocery store chicken has in it... Worth. Every. Penny.
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.
I'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.
How to Make 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 machines), put your frozen chicken on it, add 1.5 cups water or broth, put on the lid. The lid makes a cute little tinkling noise when you lock it 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, flip 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 :)
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, remove the chicken and remove the skin (just because it's like "boiled chicken" skin and not that appealing or flavorful... I just remove the major pieces. Be sure to save ALL that skin for making the best broth you ever had).
Then put everything in a big bowl and serve. I usually add salt and pepper and lots of butter for the veggies. 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 IP Chicken Broth plans. Here's how! I love cooking this way: delicious + nothing goes to waste and a 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)!
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