Rush Hour

This month, we continue our focus on pressure cookers as household helpers. In the middle of a rough week, they can help you put an elegant meal on the table in minutes. This can be especially helpful when school has just started and you're getting back into the swing of things!

The recipe I'm sharing this month is a simple meal that can be on your table in about 30 minutes. Of course, once you take your first bite, you won't believe it was so easy. The blend of flavors in this dish is very satisfying after a long day at work, school or wherever your adventures have taken you.

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that is readily available at grocery stores everywhere. Browning it before adding it to the mixture gives it a nutty flavor and a wonderful texture. The tomato bits called for in the recipe are optional, but do give the dish an added tomato flavor that's hard to duplicate otherwise. Tomato bits are sold at many grocery stores near the pasta and pasta sauces or in the seasonings aisle.

What makes this dish a favorite in my household is the lack of extra dishes. With the pressure cooker itself being the only pot being used, cleaning up after the meal can be a snap. So, it's a dish that saves time when it's being made and after it's been enjoyed! Take advantage of the time saving by enjoying some extra time with your loved ones this evening. Enjoy!

Chicken and Orzo

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 c. orzo
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, each cut into 4-5 pieces
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 c. sliced green onions
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 3 T. dried tomato bits (optional)

Spray a pressure cooker generously with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat and sauté the orzo until golden brown. Remove and place in a small bowl. Set aside.

Spray the pressure cooker again with cooking spray and sauté the chicken, garlic and onions over medium-high heat until the chicken is browned. Add the broth, tomato paste and salt. Stir well.

Lock the pressure cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure. Stabilize the pressure and cook for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini and measure out the tomato bits. After the 6 minutes, remove the pressure cooker lid using the cold-water release or steam valve release method. Add the orzo, zucchini and tomato bits. Mix well. Replace the lid and return to high pressure. Stabilize the pressure and cook an additional 4 minutes. Remove the pressure cooker lid using either of the methods mentioned above. Stir the mixture a couple of times and serve hot.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Editor's Note: For more information about pressure cookers, how they work and some tips on how to use them, read the Product Review on Kuhn Rikon's pressure cookers in the January 2000 issue of Seasoned Cooking.