Monday, September 26, 2016

Pressure Cooker Pulled Chicken

For the majority of my adult life, I have been scared to death of using a pressure cooker/canner. A few years ago I let that fear go and bought a pressure canner to put up green beans Andy raised in our garden and haven't looked back.

I've gotten in the habit of living with Andy's extremely early work schedule since I've been off this summer. So what is on TV before four in the morning? A little news but mostly infomercials. Normally we ignore that type of thing unless it has something to do with cooking. Then we change the channel before we can get the offered doubled for just the cost of shipping and handling and a 30-day no questions asked guarantee.

Last year I was relating this particular cooking gadget to Vince the day after a sleepless night. He was telling me how EVERYONE at the Cali plant had one of these pressure cookers and absolutely loved cooking and canning tuna with them. He had me sold on this being a necessity in my kitchen. An electric version that was a lot smaller than the stovetop version I used to can green beans was starting to show up on my horizon. Being the procrastinator I am when it comes to ordering stuff off the internet (not wanting to sit in front of the computer after being there all day), I put it off for another day.

As luck would have it, they started appearing in stores. Momma's birthday money gift to me put the 8QT. cooker on my counter and it's not been moved since. (options are 6, 8 & 10QT for this brand) I didn't get the extra bonus for ordering from the internet (whatever gadget that would have been) but let's say the experimenting has begun and I love, love, love cooking with it.

The cooker has a recipe book included, but I got this for simplicity so I'm testing the timing on dishes you can put on the table fast with very little effort. The first two things I fixed were not photographed as I was a little skeptical and I hate that because they both turned out AWESOME!!! For time on two three pound partially frozen whole chickens: 38 minutes once pressure was reached. Did I mention you can brown the meat with this thing? Seriously!! There is no reason to not cook with this thing around. Ziti and meatballs? 8 cooking minutes and you just dump ingredients in the pot.
 With pressure cooking comes steam. Be sure to attach the condensation collector on the back of the device! Read the owner's manual!!! There's a lot of important information in there. Safety first!!

Place five boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the inner pot.
Add 1-1/2 cups of barbecue sauce and 3/4 cups of water. I recommend using tongs to position chicken so that some of the barbecue sauce/water gets under the chicken. Also, use plastic/silicone tools so you don't scratch the surface of the inner pot.
 Put lid on top by lining up with UNLOCK and sliding counter-clockwise to the LOCK position.
 Slide the button on top to CLOSE so the cooker can start building pressure.
 Select COOK and push the button until you get to thirty minutes.
The zeros will rotate until pressure is built up. Then the timer will start counting down.
 While your chicken is cooking, fry up some hoe cakes. I've been using cooking spray instead of frying in oil and we like them so much better and they are not as greasy. Hopefully they are slightly healthier???
 The cooker will flip over to KEEP WARM/CANCEL automatically when the timer runs down.
 CAREFULLY give the button a few quick flicks to start releasing some pressure. Then flip it over to the RELEASE position to let the pressure completely release. THE LID AND STEAM ARE VERY HOT!!
Be careful you don't get burned by the steam. Once the steam is dispelled; you will hear a valve drop. After you hear that, you will be able to move the lid to the UNLOCK position. If the lid doesn't move, it's because there is still pressure. This is a safety feature.
 The chicken will be cooked and the sauce will look a little juicy.
 I chose to remove the chicken breasts to a pan to shred.
You can do it inside the pot but I didn't want to scratch up the inside.
Return the chicken to the pot and mix in the barbecue sauce until all is coated throughly. I added another 1/2 cup of sauce and put the lid back on with it still set to keep warm.

If you make a sandwich with the hoe cakes; use a slotted spoon to remove some of the juice. If you're eating open faced on hoe cakes, spoon on the chicken and some of the sauce.