May 7, 2017

Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Three Cup Chicken

“The German birds didn't taste as good as their French cousins, nor did the frozen Dutch chickens we bought in the local supermarkets. The American poultry industry had made it possible to grow a fine-looking fryer in record time and sell it at a reasonable price, but no one mentioned that the result usually tasted like the stuffing inside of a teddy bear.”
My Life in France, Julia Child
Lately, whenever someone asks me, "What's new?", my response has invariably been, "I got an Instant Pot!" (Yes, this is the most exciting thing in my life right now.) The response I get is usually a verbal and nonverbal combination: "What's an Instant Pot?", paired with a look that says, "What the heck is she so excited about?"

I thought everyone knew what an Instant Pot was. I'm usually out of the loop about pretty much everything, and I've been hearing about (and dreaming about owning) this appliance for about a year now. But I guess there are still people out there who don't know what it is! So, for those of you who still don't know, it's a multicooker that functions as a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, and steamer in one. It sounds fantastic, right? But now that I've actually gone through the ups and downs of acquiring one of these bad boys, I don't think I'd recommend it for everyone. You should definitely know what you're getting into first (see this other Instant Pot post for details). 

The first thing I made in my Instant Pot was (not-so-instant) beef stew. It was pretty satisfying...1 hour of "cooking" time (35 minutes actually pressure cooking, plus 25 minutes to come up to pressure and "quick release" the pressure) yielded tender chunks of beef and tender potatoes and carrots.

The second thing I made was a non-traditional version of three-cup chicken. In fact, it can hardly be called 3-cup chicken, aside from the fact that it contains chicken, lots of garlic, and the Chinese trinity of cooking wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. It differs from traditional three-cup chicken in three main ways:
-I used boneless chicken breast instead of dark meat.
-I added less sesame oil in the 1:1:1 ratio of cooking wine/soy sauce/sesame oil.
-I nixed the basil and added veggies like Napa cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, and onions to make it more of a one-pot meal.

It came out soupier than I intended, but it's still really delicious. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the chicken breast came out pretty tender—you can even shred it with a fork, a la pulled pork. The chicken breast will absorb the juices of the Napa cabbage, mushrooms, wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil, making for a sweet and savory, umami-filled brothy stew-like dish that's hearty and satisfying, and not at all like the classically dry chicken breast that Julia is describing above, and sadly, has come to characterize your typical serving of American poultry.

Instant Pot 3-cup Chicken
7-8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
1 lb. button mushrooms, quartered
1 head Napa cabbage, chopped roughly
3/4 cup Chinese cooking wine
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sesame oil
4 chicken breasts (~2 lbs.)

Turn your Instant Pot on (keep the lid off for now) and hit the "Saute" button. Once it says "On" it's hot enough to start browning stuff. Drizzle in some olive oil, add your garlic and onion in. Let cook for about 5 minutes until the onion has softened.

Add in the carrots, button mushrooms, Napa cabbage, wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil, and stir until cabbage has wilted a bit (10 min). Add in the chicken breasts and make sure they're submerged in the liquid. Make sure everything is below the Max fill line of the Instant Pot bowl. If not, you'll need to wait until the veggies shrink a bit more.

Put the lid on the pot, make sure the valve is in "sealing" position, and hit the "Manual" button, hit the + or - button until the number of minutes says 12. Go about your business (at this time, your pot will look like it's not doing anything, but in about 5-10 minutes the red float valve should rise (after some sputtering). Let cook (should take about 30 minutes...12 minutes "cooking" time plus the time it takes to come to pressure and release the pressure). After the timer goes off, let it sit in Keep Warm mode for 10-12 minutes, then use a pair of tongs and a kitchen towel to carefully switch the valve on the lid to the "venting" position to quickly release the pressure. Once the pressure releases all the way (wait until the steam is done coming out, and the red float valve has descended all the way), you can open the lid. Serve over rice (prior to this, I also cooked brown rice in the same pot) -- see recipe below.

Instant Pot Brown Rice
Note: The "cups" in this recipe were measured using the "rice-size" cup included with the Instant Pot, which is probably about 75% of the size of a normal US measuring cup. The ratio of rice to liquid should be about 1:1.25 no matter what size cup you're using.

3 cups long-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
3 3/4 cups water

Combine these ingredients, put the lid on the pot, making sure the valve is in "sealing" position. Hit Manual and set the timer for 22 minutes. Once the cooking time is done, it will automatically switch to "Keep Warm" mode. Let it sit in Keep Warm mode for 10 minutes. Using a pair of tongs and a towel, switch the valve to "venting" position" making sure the steam doesn't get near your hands. Let the pressure release all the way (wait until the steam is done coming out, and the red float valve has descended all the way). Your rice is ready! At this point, I scooped out the rice and let it cool in another container, then stored it in the fridge, and added my three-cup chicken ingredients directly into the same Instant Pot bowl, to save some cleaning time.


tim mark said...
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Unknown said...
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Sarah said...

Is it good to add some chilli and ginger? My husband loves spicy food. Thanks for your nice recipe by the way. It is always great with instant pot for nice meals.

Best Propane Grills said...

Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe

Instant Pot Reviews said...

It looks yummy!!
Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...

Thanks to the Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) I was able to make delicious chicken. I feel great to give my grandmother the instant pot as her 70th birthday present. Thank you for sharing.

Thomas said...

It is cool to know these suggestion. Nice recipe. Thanks.

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Koij said...
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Ken said...
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Julya jerin said...

thank u for sharing those mouth-watering recipe. I will must try.

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