Should I use a thermometer to check 'done-ness' of boiled chicken pieces?
The answer I got about 1" beef cubes was to go by time, NOT temperature.
Does that still hold for chicken pieces? (whole bird, cut up)?
The last time I boiled the cut-up bird in my pressure cooker for 6 minutes per pound (21 minutes total), and checked the temp after, it was 205 degrees.
Should I cook it a bit less next time?
Simmer chicken. Boiling is not needed. Neither is pressure cooker.
I steamed a whole chicken last week and it came out great. First time I ever did it. Kind of bland but all you need is a dipping sauce that has a decent salt level. Soy sauce-ginger+salt+garlic or scallions+black pepper or what have you. A Vietnamese sauce with peanuts would be good. But salt is needed because the steamed chicken has zero salt. For fun I put a few drops of liquid smoke in my dipping sauce.
Unless you are using a soup fowl, there is no reason to cook chicken pieces in a pressure cooker. It will severely overcook the meat.
In that vein, I also find that most recipes seem to call for cooking chicken pieces in a braising liquid way too long. I've found that even with dark meat like bone-in thighs, braising for an hour or more as I've seen in some recipes, is way too much.
Just about all chicken you see in stores will cook quickly. It is the tough old birds, might have been laying hen or an old rooster. Those could use some pressure cooking. But you rarely see them. For example I have seen gallina (stewing hen) in a local store from time to time.
I hear most old birds go to Campbell s soup and other ag processors because the meat is cheap and just needs that extra treatment consumers balk at. But some Hispanics remember family doing down home stewing gallina and will buy it
re: C. Hamster
speed and I was amazed at how great it came out. My first exposure to it was about a month ago with empire kosher chick (4 pounds in 24 minutes after attaining pressure (about 10 minutes). It was sooo good. Since then, I've been only using the pressure cooker to cook beef chuck roast and chicken. Tomorrow (per a separate thread), I'll be trying the same technique with boneless center cut pork loin.
No, no, no!
The boneless center-cut pork loin needs to be roasted - that's absolutely not a braise or boil cut, and you'll destroy a lovely piece of meat.
Loin is lean and has very little connective tissue -- so braising doesn't do anything good.
It's so awesome that you're so interested in and learning how to cook, but it sounds like you need a basic primer.
I did't really dig into it in depth, but this looks like a good place to start: http://www.howtocookmeat.com/
Yes, you should cook it less as Sunshine842 has pointed out.
An easy way to poach Chicken pieces is to
Put Chicken into a Pot that it fit snugly into and cover with 1" of Water
Bring to a simmer cover and simmer 10min
Shut off heat let cool.
The Water can be seasoned with what ever you like or replaced with Stock
The thermometer works only for solid pieces -- roasts, whole legs/thighs/breasts, the whole bird, etc.
I wouldn't boil chicken pieces in a pressure cooker, unless it's for a soup/stew/etc -- in which case the meat is going to be well-cooked long before the connective tissue melts -- just like the beef.
When you overcook chicken, it tends to get quite dry and cottony -- or turn to mush -- and it's quite unpleasant to eat.
Chicken only has to be 170F to be considered cooked -- 205 is going to be hovering at cottony or mushy.