Hey friends! So, show of hands. Who has a pressure cooker? Who has considered owning one? Who out there thinks it sounds scary and intimidating? Okay, I totally raised my hand on that last one – until my cousin Lisa talked me into looking into them. Pressure cookers can greatly reduce cooking times and keep meats tender – which is perfect for all of us cooks out there who just can’t hang out all day in the kitchen. Lisa thought we should test out the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker (which was provided by our friends at Cuisinart to review, and let you know our experience) by making up her go-to chicken noodle soup recipe. (You can check out Cuisinart’s website, and I’ll leave an affiliate link to shop for this pressure cooker at various point throughout this post, if at any time you’d like to check it out!)
Now, those of you who follow Happy Hour Projects on Pinterest and on Facebook may not realize that it’s actually Lisa that helps find fabulous pins and shares cute memes, to help me out. She’s a stay-at-home Grama and a great helper behind the scenes! So I invited her to share her story and recipe on the blog today she she was the genius who showed me that pressure cooking is in fact not scary at all! I would love it if you regular readers give her a warm welcome today as she breaks down how to translate your favorite recipes to pressure cooker recipes, and for all the work she puts into helping me make Happy Hour Projects fun for all of us. :)
Is there any more maternal feeling or gesture of love than feeding our sick loved ones a homemade bowl of steaming chicken noodle soup? Much has been written about the actual medicinal properties of chicken soup. As mothers we don’t need scientists or other specialists to validate what we already know and are keenly aware about the healing powers that true comfort food has to offer.
As a child of the condensed soup generation, I had no true resource to draw upon when my own young daughter became sick. I only knew I would do anything in my power to give her comfort. As with many new parental challenges, I turned to my beloved “Mothers Almanac” for guidance. A tomb of down to earth advice that dealt with motherhood in an honest and often times humorous light. Because, lets face it, we all need as much humor as we can find in the daily challenges of motherhood. It was within those hallowed pages that I found the recipe I am sharing the foundation of today. Chicken Noodle Soup, otherwise known in our house as Penicillin in a Pot.
The number one problem with homemade soup is the amount of time it requires to simmer and cook. Especially if you are making the stock from scratch. There are many short cut recipes that cut down on the time but also sacrifice much of the nutritional value. Today I will be trying out my new Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker, Model CPC-600, that Cuisinart generously supplied, to see if I can shave time off all the simmering the stove top method requires. As it turns out, my Grandson is down with a nasty cold, so the timing couldn’t be better.
The first step in the project was to unpack the unit and get familiar with the instructions for use. I must admit here that I always find any new gadget to be somewhat overwhelming the first time I use it. After a quick review of the manual however, I was pleasantly surprised at how little set up was involved. The actual instructions for use also seemed to be straight forward and easy enough even for me. The unit came with a nice little cookbook that supplied suggested cooking times for various foods so it was very easy to find the cooking time for my project.
The first step to the recipe is to made the homemade broth. I used part of a package of a cut up whole chicken, as I prefer the mix of dark and white meat, however you could use whatever you prefer. To the chicken, I added 1 turnip quartered, 2 stalks celery cut in large pieces, 3 carrots unpeeled and cut in quarters, 6-8 cloves garlic, 1 bunch parsley, 6 peppercorns, 2 Tbsp salt, 2 onions quartered, 1 bay leaf crumbled and 8 cups of water. After these things were added to the pressure cooker, it was at the maximum capacity. This prep took me about 10 minutes.
According to the instructions, I would cook this on high pressure for 10 minutes. Wow…amazing right? Not so fast. Because everything added to the cooker was cold it took about 30 minutes for the cooker to actually reach pressure, and then another 10 minutes for the actually cooking. Still, less time than it would of taken on the stove top and I was able to use that time to prepare the ingredients for the second part of the recipe. Depending on what you are cooking, you either manually release pressure at the end of the cooking time or let the pressure come down on it’s own which will continue to cook your food until the pressure has released completely. The instructions I followed called for quick pressure release. Using tongs, it was very easy to move the pressure valve to quick release position and the pressure came down quickly. Once the pressure has come down the lid will unlock for easy removal.
Because I was making a large batch of soup, done in 2 steps, I opted to use my large soup pot to combine the ingredients as they finished cooking in the pressure cooker. At this point in the recipe, you strain the broth from the chicken and cooked vegetables. Set the chicken aside to cool and discard the vegetables. I found it easiest to fit my colander over my soup pan to strain the broth from the cooked vegetables and chicken. You can also strain it through cheese cloth if you prefer.
Next into the pressure cooker I added 2 cups store bought chicken broth, sliced carrots, sliced celery, chopped onion and a chopped rutabaga. The recipe actually calls for 2 parsnips finely chopped, but somehow I came home with a rutabaga and no parsnips. What can I say, it was one of those days. I also added some finely chopped parsley that didn’t quite all fit in the broth recipe. You can really use any vegetables of your choice but I usually stick to the recipe for it’s unique variety of vitamins and nutrients.
I set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 5 minutes. Again, because things were cold it took a total of 15 minutes from start to finish of cooking time. At the end of the cooking time, I used the quick pressure release method and found my vegetables to be done to perfection.
Adding the rest of the large can of chicken broth to the homemade broth, I cooked the Kluski Noodles till done. Approximately 16 minutes. I then added my chopped, cooked vegetables and deboned chicken. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired and it is ready to serve.
Final analysis on the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker, Model CPC-600 Series: I found it very user friendly and had none of the fear that a traditional pressure cooker can cause. (Yes, I’ve had my own traumatic experience with a traditional pressure cooker resulting in the jiggler being stuck in the ceiling)! Even allowing for extra time for the pressure to build, it still saved cooking time. It comes with a nice little recipe book as well as a chart for cooking times for most common foods. The nonstick cooking pot is removable and dishwasher safe for easy clean up. It holds a maximum of 16 cups or 6 quarts. The lid fits and seals nicely with no struggle. You can brown, simmer, saute and warm in addition to using it as a pressure cooker. It includes a trivet that is used for many of the dessert recipes. Less liquid is required, thus fewer nutrients are lost to evaporation. You can use cheaper cuts of meat and still have them come out falling apart tender which would be great when your on a tight budget. Does not heat your kitchen up which would make it great for use in summer or warmer climates. I thoroughly enjoyed using it and have several recipes that I am excited to try in it. It definitely gets 2 thumbs up from me.
Here’s the original recipe from which this pressure cooker version was adapted:
- ½ bag of Kluski noodles
- Soup Base:
- 1 package chicken pieces of your choice
- 8 Cups Water
- 1 Turnip, Quartered
- 2 Stalks Celery, cut in large pieces
- 3 Carrots, unpeeled and cut in quarters
- 2 Onions, quartered
- 6-8 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Whole Bunch Parsley
- 6 Peppercorns
- 2 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Crumbled Bay Leaf
- To the home-cooked broth, also add:
- 1 49 oz Can Chicken Broth
- 2 Carrots, sliced
- 2 Onions, chopped
- 2 Parsnips, finely chopped
- 2 Celery Stalks, sliced
- Combine the soup base ingredients listed above, and bring to boil. Simmer for 2 hours.
- Strain through colander or cheese cloth. Discard veggies, and set chicken aside to cool. (Once cool, de-bone and shred chicken as necessary.) Retain this original broth.
- Combine chopped onions, parsnips, celery and carrots and both the canned and home-cooked broths. Cook until veggies are tender. Finally, add ½ package Kluski Noodles, and cook until noodles are done. Add the de-boned, shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
So there you have it, friends! You can see from the original recipe that the pressure cooker saved over HALF the cooking time, turning this awesome homemade chicken noodle soup recipe into something that can be made for dinner after work, instead of something you have to cook and simmer all afternoon. Lisa has included the stovetop recipe above for those of you interested in trying the recipe if you still have a pressure cooker on your wish list but haven’t added it to your kitchen arsenal yet. If you need to drop a hint to Santa, this model can be found on Amazon – here’s a quick affiliate link to find it and save it to your wishlist: Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker.
I know I’ve been away for much of the past week, but it’s because I’m working on some awesome things for you guys, celebrating my daughter’s birthday this week, and trying to prepare for Christmas! I will see you again very soon with some fun kids crafts and OF COURSE some jewelry projects and gifts!