Chicken Under Pressure

I've seen a lot of recipes insisting that pressure cookers can make rotisserie chicken. Don't believe them. Now, don't get me wrong. Pressure cookers can make incredible braised chicken in a fraction of the time it takes to make it in the oven. And braised chicken is flavorful, juicy, and versatile for dinner and all the meals afterward you can make with the leftovers. But it's just not the same thing because they are cooked differently and that matters. Rotisserie chickens are cooked using the dry method of a rotating spit over high heat. The chicken made in a pressure cooker is cooked using the wet method of braising. Both amazing. But not the same thing. That said, if you are wanting to cook an entire chicken without ending up with dry, flavorless meat, grabbing a pressure cooker is probably your best bet:

This six pound beauty took about 50 minutes from start to finish and left my family with the original meal of braised chicken, almost 3 quarts of amazing chicken stock (which I made later and will cover soon), and lots of extra juicy chicken leftover for everything from fried rice to double-stuffed chicken burritos. And did I mention that it took less than an hour? Moreover, the meat was moist, tender, and brimming with lemon-garlic-pepper goodness:

If it seems like there's not enough moisture in the pot, remember that modern birds are nearly always injected with additional broth. If you happen to have one that isn't or aren't planning to use those amazing lemons in the cavity (but really … give that a try), you can increase the chicken stock you include in the pot to one full cup. Otherwise, you'll be impressed and surprised at how much cooking liquid is in the pot once the bird's ready to eat. Simple nestle your favorite chicken dinner sides alongside that beautiful bird and ring the dinner bell!

Pressure Braised Sunday Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 lemon, quartered (optional)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock

Remove any parts from the chicken cavity. Optional: place the lemon in the cavity of the chicken.

Combine all of the spices, including the grated lemon peel, in a small ramekin dish; stir together. Add the oil to the spices, and stir until incorporated.

Turn your electric pressure cooker to preheat on the sauté setting on "normal."

Rub the oil and spice mixture on the breast side of the chicken. Place the chicken, breast side down, in the preheated electric pressure cooker. Carefully rub the other half of the oil and spices mixture on the other side of the chicken.

Allow the breast side to crisp up the chicken skin for a few minutes, about 3 to 4 minutes total. Carefully flip the chicken over to the other side (using a heavy spatula and set of tongs), and let it crisp up the skin on the other side for about a minute.

Add the chicken stock, place the lid on the pressure cooker and lock it. Set to manual high pressure for 25-35 minutes (the smaller your chicken, the less time you need to cook it - a 4 lb. bird will take about 25 minutes, whereas one nearing 7 lb. will take more than a half hour).

After the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure cooker to depressurize naturally (i.e. do not use the venting lever). Remove the lid, and transfer the chicken to a serving plate. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes prior to serving.

  • Yields: 1 whole chicken
  • Preparation Time: 45-55 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken

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