CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

I use the pressure cooker a lot, pretty much the whole year. I wanted to make chicken soup under pressure (the soup, not the cook), so I started by checking a few cookbooks and websites. I shall name no names, but a very very reputable source gave me a recipe that disappointed on many levels. I used it as a very loose starting point. My version got two thumbs up from me and the man I’ve been happily married with for 21 years, 11 months and 3.5 weeks. Yes, almost anniversary time for us!

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, halved
6 medium carrots, 3 halved crosswise and 3 peeled and cut into half-moons
4 stalks celery, 2 halved crosswise and 2 cut into half-moons
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 large chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces, with the skin removed, wings left with skin on
2 quarts water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 piece ginger (about 1 inch)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste, optional
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
noodles of your choice, amount to taste

Heat the oil in your pressure cooker, add the shallots, and the large pieces of carrots and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sautee until fragrant.

Add the chicken pieces, but do not include the breast. Add water, peppercorns, soy sauce and ginger. Make sure the water covers all the pieces of meat. Close the pressure cooker, and cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure by running cold water over the lid, or if using the Instant Pot, use the rapid release method.

Strain the liquid passing it through a fine sieve. Discard all solids. You should have at least 8 cups of stock, if you have less, add water to complete the volume. Place the liquid back in the pressure cooker, or use another large stockpot. Add the breasts to the stock, then the pieces of carrots and celery reserved earlier. Simmer very gently until the breast is cooked through – it might take 20 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.

Cook the noodles al dente and rinse them in cold water. Reserve. You’ll need about 2 cups cooked noodles for the full amount of soup.

When the breast meat is cooked, remove to a plate and shred the meat with a fork. Add it back to the stock, and add the cooked noodles. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and squirt a little lemon juice right before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made this soup three times during this winter. First time I was worried that the noodles would get too mushy if left in the broth for a day or two, so I was trying to add them to just the amount of soup we would consume in that meal. But, there’s really no need to do that. It turns out they hold pretty well in the fridge. I just try to cook them JUST to the al dente stage.

The pressure cooker does a beautiful job intensifying flavors, so the soup is very satisfying and has a bright flavor due to the ginger and lemon. I hope you give it a try, either with a pressure cooker or the Instant Pot.

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TURKEY-BISON JALAPENO CHILI

This was made in a pressure cooker, but if you don’t own one, no problem. Follow my modifications for a stove-top version. I often make chili exclusively with ground turkey but this version with 50% bison won our seal of approval. Not that much additional fat, but definitely a more complex flavor.

TURKEY-BISON JALAPENO CHILI
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeños, minced (remove seeds for less heat)
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1 pound ground chicken
1 pound ground bison meat
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or other red pepper of your choice)
1 can (28 ounce) whole tomatoes
garnishes of your choice

Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker. Sautee the shallot, bell pepper and jalapeños with a little salt and pepper. When fragrant, add the two kinds of meat and saute for a few minutes. Add all other ingredients, close the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure.

Reduce heat, cook for 25 minutes. Release the pressure quickly according to the method recommended for your pan. Simmer the chili gently for a few more minutes and serve. Adjust consistency with water or by reducing it further. Serve with toppings of your choice. If making in a regular pan, simmer gently for 1 hour, adding more liquid if needed during cooking.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As you may know, we cook with leftovers in mind, and chili is one of the perfect recipes to enjoy in subsequent days, it gets better and better. Bison meat is widely available where we live, but any ground beef will work, although the fat amount will be higher with most other cuts. We love the mixture of the two types of meat. If you have pickled jalapeños hanging around, they are a nice topping idea also. We used guacamole and yogurt seasoned with salt and lime juice.

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TURKEY JALAPENO MEATBALLS

I’ve been playing with an ingredient that is quite likely very popular in many kitchens, but new to me. A bit embarrassed to admit, but here we go: pickled jalapenos. They are sold in big jars, cute slices of pepper swimming in a liquid that makes your tastebuds tingle. I may have developed a slight obsession. These meatballs are very light and super flavorful. Contrary to most recipes, you won’t have to brown them, but you can if you prefer. My method of choice is the pressure cooker, but I offer you other ways to cook them too. Just in case you are a pressure-phobe.

TURKEY-JALAPENO MEATBALLS
(inspired by The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book)

for the meatballs:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pickled jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon brine liquid from pepper jar
cilantro leaves and stems (to taste, I like to use a lot)
1 + 1/2 pound ground turkey
½ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

for the tomato sauce:
(you can also use your favorite store-bought tomato sauce)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can crushed tomatoes with juices (28 oz)
2 shallots, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 carrot, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Add the jalapeno slices, the brine, the olive oil and the cilantro leaves into the bowl of a small food processor and process the mixture a few times. Add it to the ground turkey in a large bowl, together with all other ingredients for the meatballs. Mix with your hands without compressing the mixture too much. For into twelve large meatballs. Reserve in the fridge. Can be made hours in advance or even the day before.

Make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker, add the shallots, celery and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the crushed tomatoes. Place the meatballs on the sauce, if the sauce does not reach half the height of the meatballs, complete the volume with water. Lock the lid onto the pot. Set the pot over high heat and bring it to high pressure then cook for 10 minutes. Release the pressure and open the pan. If needed, reduce the sauce by simmering gently.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you are serving these meatballs as an appetizer, I recommend that you make them smaller, and either fry them, air-fry them (about 12 min at 390F), or bake them. As an appetizer, I think they profit from a nice browned crust. But as a main course, I prefer to cook them straight in the sauce. The pressure cooker makes them perfect to my taste, but if you don’t own one you can make them in a crockpot set for 6 hours on low. Alternatively, you can simmer them on top of the stove, until they are fully cooked, but the sauce won’t have the same depth of flavor as the pressure cooker offers. Pressure cooking tames the spices a bit, so if you opt for another method, consider reducing a little bit the amount of pickled jalapenos you use.

I find them delicious next to a simple salad, but of course the traditional way would be alongside a nice helping of pasta. It will keep you satisfied, even if much lighter than the usual Italian style meatballs.

The best compliment a recipe gets in this kitchen is the husband saying “you must put this one in our regular rotation.” I fully agree. And I suspect the bottle of pickled jalapenos will have a dedicated spot in our fridge from now on.

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APRICOT AND BALSAMIC GLAZED CHICKEN THIGHS

Simple to the limit. Very tasty. If you have a pressure cooker or the famous InstantPot, you can have this main dish at your table any night of the week. I got the idea for it from a delicious shredded chicken I made also under pressure. For this one, I changed the flavors and reduced the cooking time so that the pieces of chicken would still hold together.  Probably excellent with orange marmalade instead of apricot jam. Hey, go wild and try mango jam, if you have it around.

APRICOT AND BALSAMIC GLAZED CHICKEN THIGHS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

¼ cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 to 3 tsp fresh)

In a small bowl, whisk the jam and vinegar together until very smooth. Depending on how thick your jam is, add a small amount of warm water to help loosening the mixture a bit. Reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker set over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then brown on both sides (do it in batches if needed).  Return all the pieces to the pot.

Pour the jam-vinegar mixture over the meat; add the thyme.  Add some water to bring the liquid about 1/3 of the heigh of the chicken pieces.  Lock the lid onto the pressure cooker and bring it to full pressure.  Cook for 15 minutes. Release pressure manually, if needed reduce the liquid by simmering for a few minutes.

Adjust seasoning and serve with your side dish of choice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

We enjoyed it with our favorite rice of the moment, easy Tahdig-Rice, which I blogged about in my latest Incredibly Simple series.  Some sauteed asparagus rounded our meal pretty nicely. If you like a bit more spice, add a touch of Harissa or Sriracha to the jam mixture. I intend to try that next time.

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CHERRY CHIPOTLE CHICKEN THIGHS

Oddly enough, this chicken recipe was born from a batch of French macarons. I know, how could it be? It turns out that I made a filling for macarons using white chocolate ganache and sour cherry jam. Quite a bit of jam was left in the jar, and I knew it would sit in the fridge at the risk of being forgotten. Why not put it to use in a savory recipe? I adapted bits from a few cookbooks, and came up with a pressure cooker version for chicken thighs that had some sweetness, some spice, some sourness, and what I love the most: that falling-apart texture.  I hope you give it a try.

CHERRY CHIPOTLE SHREDDED CHICKEN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cherry jam
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 canned chipotle in adobo sauce, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

Place the tomatoes, jam, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, chipotle, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, and cloves in a blender. Blend and pour the smooth sauce in a pressure cooker.

Add the boneless chicken thighs, whole. Close the pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) and bring to full pressure. Cook for 20 minutes,  release the pressure manually, and remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board. Shred the meat with two forks (it should be very tender). 

Add the shredded meat back to the sauce, heat gently for a few minutes, adjust seasoning (you may need a bit more salt).  Serve over rice or the side dish of your choice. Also great as a filling for fajitas.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As a good Brazilian-American, I use my pressure cooker all year, but of course now that the temperature outside starts to fall down, this type of comfort food shows up more often in our menu. On weeknights, the pressure cooker is the best tool to have a meal with that aura of hours and hours in the making, materialize in the blink of an eye. Well, a few blinks. Not that many, though.

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