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Pressure-cooker chicken soup

Posted by Sheryl Julian  January 19, 2010 11:46 AM

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There are several recipes for chicken soup coming out in tomorrow's Food section. One is a soup I make often with chicken wings, which gives you nuggets of meat and a jellied stock that's loaded with flavor. You need to simmer the soup for 1 1/2 hours (but pay very little attention to it during cooking), then pick the meat off the bones. 

You can also use chicken legs, as directed here. A pressure cooker reduces the simmering time to 20 minutes, so I use that pot most of the time. But you can't leave the kitchen. Nothing at all dangerous about modern pressure cookers -- they cannot explode -- but you should still stick around.

This time of year, I put the hot food on the back porch to cool quickly (it's screened, so no danger of neighborhood pets eating it) then settle in to the task of discarding the skin and bones from the meat. Allow several hours for the soup to chill so you can skim the fat from the top.

Pressure-cooker chicken soup
Serves 6

4 whole chicken legs
2 onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large carrots, cut in half horizontally
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup small pasta or rice, cooked until tender (for serving)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large heatproof bowl, set the chicken legs. Pour enough boiling water over them to cover them completely. Set aside for 15 minutes.
2. With tongs, transfer the legs to the pressure cooker. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Add enough cold water to cover the legs by 1 inch. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt. 
3. Cover with the lid and lock it in place. Bring to medium pressure. Cook for 20 minutes.
4. Carefully transfer the pressure cooker to the sink and run very cold water directly onto the lid for 5 minutes or until you can open the lock without forcing it.
5. Lift off the lid and let the soup sit for 15 minutes to cool slightly.
6. With a large slotted spoon, lift out the chicken legs and vegetables and transfer to a large bowl. Tip the soup into a large container. Leave both to cool.
7. When the soup is cool, cover and refrigerate. When the chicken is cool, remove the meat from the bones. Discard skin, bones, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Cut the meat into 1/4-inch pieces. Return the meat to the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or until cold.
8. With a slotted spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the soup. Tip the soup into a large pot. Add the chicken and vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until hot.
9. Add several spoonfuls of pasta or rice to 4 deep bowls. Ladle the soup, chicken, and vegetables on top. Sprinkle with parsley. Sheryl Julian

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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