Let the pressure begin…..

After our fun with canning session last fall during a hurricane (cause what else are you going to do with all of the stuff that would otherwise splatter all over your house?!?), we decided to invest in an aluminum pressure canner. I say invest because they are not cheap.

At first we thought that we could use the monster as a canner AND cooker, which we can, except we are not too keen on the idea of adding aluminum, forcibly to our food so we opted to also add a stainless steel pressure cooker to the pots and pans repertoire.  Needles to say that they couldn’t have come at a better time as a serious case of the sniffle, sneezes and coughs has entered our home.  First on the list of things to make….chicken soup!  The hubs ran out to get the fix-ins for some amazing organic chicken stock and of course beef stock, hey, might as well, right. 😉

So the stock making began and with the help of the pressure cooker took…wait for it, 30 minutes!!!  Holy cow!  I couldn’t believe it!  Normally I would start a stock in the morning and it would be ready for dinner. It needs to cook that long to extract all of the animo acids and other goodness necessary to be a proven cold fighter.  It is our go-to for colds and general sickness. 🙂  This stock was the color of a cooked-all-day stock in 30 minutes!  Why doesn’t every mom have one of these??  Perhaps it is because all I could picture when the idea was proposed was a cartoon skit where the roof is blown off of the house by a wayward pressure cooker.  That however, was not the case, the roof is intact and so are all of our limbs. 🙂 Yay!
Then, came time to play with the pressure canner…that thing is scary looking and HUGE!  I must admit that it is very intimidating like something out of a Dr. Jekyll movie.  Long story short, it took about 2 hours total to can 9 quarts of stock.  3 Chicken and 6 beef stock and we had a huge pot of minestrone for dinner.
After canning the stocks became even darker!  That is chicken stock!  It is a dark caramel color.  I can’t even get stock that color from reducing all day.  I am amazed and can’t wait to dig into that stock.  We promised ourselves that we’d save those for sick days so no one has to go out or stand over the stove.  So that’s it…a day in the life of a little pressure.
Here is a good recipe for some great stock.  This is NOT a pressure cooker recipe although it probably could be.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds chicken carcasses, including necks and backs
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2
  • 4 ribs celery, cut in 1/2
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 to 10 peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 gallons cold water

Directions

Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in 12-quart stockpot. Cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Turn heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer.  Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.
Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids. Cool immediately in large cooler of ice or a sink full of ice water to below 40 degrees. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove solidified fat from surface of liquid and store in container with lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Prior to use, bring to boil for 2 minutes. Use as a base for soups and sauces.
I am planning on a “how to use a whole chicken” blog soon so save those bones!  Since I use EVERYTHING….some call it frugal or even cheap….I call it resourceful and NOT wasteful, I even use the carrots and celery that have been used in the stock.  Most of the good stuff has been transferred to the stock, but there is still some left so take those out, hold them aside.  My kids will just walk by the counter and munch as I strain.  The ones they don’t eat, make for a quick side dish for them or throw them back in with some of your stock and blend it all up with a stick blender, add a little tomato product and some cumin and chili power.  Heat and serve with cheese and tortilla chips for a yummy tortilla soup. 🙂
Off to bathe the babes now…

One thought on “Let the pressure begin…..

  1. Pingback: What to do with a whole chicken?!? | raising a free range family

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