Food Storage Meal - Chicken, Potatoes and Carrots

Sunday, October 13, 2013
So, *I* personally consider this to be a "food storage" meal, because all of this came from my fridge or food storage.  But I can see how it might not fall into the "food storage" category for some depending on different definitions, and that's okay.  Because I really wanted to focus more on the method of cooking rather than the meal itself.

These are all items I already had on hand.  Carrots from the fridge, potatoes from cold storage and chicken from the fridge/freezer.  (Today's chicken came from the fridge simply because I happened to have some out already.  Usually I use frozen chicken for this.) The only other addition is chicken broth, and today, rather than break open one of the jars of broth I just canned (I just can't bring myself to open them just yet), I used up the last of my jar of Better Than Bouillon chicken broth concentrate from my fridge - love that stuff!  (And I totally forgot the jar of bouillon in the picture above - oops!)

This is my electric pressure cooker - love it to death!  It is really easy to use, and I love being able to stick frozen meat in here and have a fully cooked entrée in 1/3 the time it would normally take.  That's a miracle for me, who rarely thinks about what's for dinner before 4pm, and is then left scrambling to come up with something and a freezer full of frozen meat that will take hours to thaw and cook...

Anyways, you don't need an electric/digital pressure cooker to do this, you can use the standard stovetop model too.

I just make three layers in my pot - carrots first, then peeled and diced potatoes (I cut them into 1 inch chunks).  I then add salt and pepper on top of the potatoes (before I put the chicken in). 

Then on top of the potatoes go the chicken breasts.  You can use fresh or frozen, whatever you've got handy!  I then season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and then either thyme or Montreal chicken seasoning.  Once the chicken is in (make sure to not overfill your pot - check your instructions for the proper amount your cooker can handle), pour 4-6 cups of chicken broth around the outsides of the pot until it fills up to your fill line or halfway up your chicken layer.

Then it's just a matter of putting your lid on and setting the controls.  For this meal, I use High Pressure for 8 minutes.  Once your pressure valve is engaged, just press start and walk away while it does its thing! 

It takes a few minutes to come up to pressure, and then the timer kicks in and the pressure cooking begins.  At the end of the time, I usually do a 4-minute natural release and then quick release after that, but since the chicken really only needs 4 mins at high pressure and then 4 mins of natural release, and we're cooking the pot for 8 mins at high pressure, you can skip the natural release and just go to quick release once the pressure time is over. 

Once the pressure is released, I take out the chicken, set it on a plate, strain out the broth, and use it to make a quick gravy from a roux on the stovetop.  Then we eat!  It's fast, and easy, and there is hardly any mess to clean up! Plus it tastes darn good - this thing makes the BEST potatoes ever!  I use it every year to make garlic smashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner - they are fabulous!

Just remember, there is a different between pressure COOKERS and pressure CANNERS.  This model cannot be used to pressure can.  But I do happen to have one that CAN be used as both a cooker and canner, and I HIGHLY recommend it! 

This is the Fagor Duo cooker/canner combo set.  (You can buy just the cooker/canner portion if you already have the canning stuff.)  It is the 10qt model.  I wouldn't recommend less than the 10qt.  It's an appropriate size for family meals, and big enough to handle 4 quart jars for canning. 

You see, I love cooking on a gas stove, but it scares me - a LOT!  I am always bending over the stove and I swear my clothing is always just inches away from catching on fire.  Plus I have little kids and open flames make me nervous when the kids running around anywhere.  So we replaced our gas stovetop with a flat-top induction model.  The ONLY problem I've had with the induction stoves is that you must use certain types of pots/cookware with them (they must be magnetic).  The big pressure canners out there, that I love so much (I have a large Presto that I adore!), are all aluminum, which will not work on an induction stovetop.  This Fagor is the only stainless steel canner option that I've found here in the U.S. so far.  Hoping that that will change, but until then, this is what I've got.  And it's actually working out just fine!  I do have to do more batches, but as far as canners go, this thing COULD NOT BE EASIER!  No checking gauges, no reading dials, no listening for the rocking pressure just set the dial to "2" and wait for the steam to come out.  Once it does, you start your timer, and turn your heat down, and THAT'S IT!  I can totally leave the room with this one and know it's still at the right pressure as long as I can hear the steam.

And the reason I bring this all up, is that pressure cookers are a nice option for times when you're needing to conserve fuel.  Because of the high temps they can cook food much faster and more efficiently, so a little bit of fuel goes a long way!  And while my electric pressure cooker won't be much help in an extended power outage situation, my Fagor cooker doesn't have that limitation and can be used in a variety of situations and with different fuel options!