Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017...4:57 pm

Stocking Up

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So this is really more of a PSA than a recipe – as usual I am way late to the game, but pressure cookers have seriously changed my life. This is one piece of kit I’d been hankering after for a long, long time, but between the price tag, not knowing what size to get (do I want a smaller one so I can do all sorts of small batches of stuff all the time, or do I want a big one so I can do GIANT batches of things because I AM TOTALLY AN INDUSTRIAL CENTRAL KITCHEN DONCHA KNOW), and the severe lack of kitchen real estate and already overflowing cupboards and drawers, I just never got round to it. But all that changed when I popped by a friend’s garage sale last month and found a brand new Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker gleaming at me in the corner, amidst a veritable treasure trove of food styling props, cookbooks and kitchen tools!

And you know what, let’s just get this out of the way: yes, I am totally one of those food snobs that prefers home made stock, and where possible I have a stash of a few different kinds vac-packed and frozen. And while a simple court boullion comes together in around 10 short minutes, fully extracting all of the collagen and gelatin from animal stocks usually takes a little longer. Especially if you’re keeping it at a low simmer to preserve the clarity of the stock. And even though I’ve had made no less than three batches of chicken stock just this week (two batches of blond, one brown), I love the thought that I don’t actually need to keep a stash of stock in my freezer anymore, since stock making can now be an everyday affair.

I’m including a recipe below, for those of you that need it (proportions mostly stolen from this chefsteps recipe), but truth be told I haven’t done much in the way of measuring. Just make sure not to fill your pressure cooker beyond what the instructions say, and use whatever mix of aromats floats your boat. I generally keep it pretty simple (onion, carrot, bay leaf, maybe a bit of garlic) unless I know exactly what the entire batch of stock is destined for. Let it ride at full pressure, let it cool and depressurise naturally (or force the depressurisation if you’re in more of a hurry and don’t need it to be that clear). Strain, skim, and you’re gold. And you don’t even need to worry about saving up chicken backs, or going to the shops for a pack of chicken wings or feet. If you’ve recently roasted a chicken, or if you picked up a rotisserie bird for dinner this week, just save the carcass and wing tips, stick some veg in there and that’ll be a delicious stock too.


Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock
(Based on this chefsteps recipe)

1kg chicken backs, wings, feet etc
100g carrot (about 1 small), diced
350g brown onion (about 1 medium), diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
10 black peppercorns

Combine all ingredients with around 1-1.5L of water (but make sure this doesn’t exceed your pot’s max fill line per the manufacturer’s instructions, so scale down if your pot is smaller), bring to a boil over high heat, and seal the pressure cooker. Adjust the heat to maintain pressure and start your timer – let it cook for at least 30-45 minutes.

Shut off the heat, let it cool until the pot has depressurised naturally, then remove the lid. Using tongs or chopsticks, fish out any larger pieces. If you’ve used somewhat meaty pieces of bones, now’s a good time to fish out the bones so you can peel off any bits of meat. They won’t be terribly tasty, and if you’ve got any breast meat in there they’ll probably be pretty dry, but they make a good filler for fried rice or noodles, or omelette fillings. Set a coarse meshed strainer over another sieve lined with a clean tea towel, and strain your stock into a clean container.

You can now use it immediately, or chill it down (setting the container of stock in an ice bath is the most efficient way), refrigerate it and skim off any fat from the surface. The stock will keep for a week refrigerated, or for a year frozen.

Yield: 1-1.5L of stock

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