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Can a whole chicken be prepared in a 6L pressure cooker?

QueensTomato Nov 11, 2013 10:06 AM

I'd like to prepare a whole chicken using a 6L pressure cooker. Would it be large enough and how do you go about it? P.S. The cooker trivet and basket are long gone.

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  1. m
    mwk RE: QueensTomato Nov 11, 2013 10:14 AM

    You CAN do that, but you shouldn't. The dark meat may survive the time in the pressure cooker, but the white meat will be horribly dry and stringy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mwk
      QueensTomato RE: mwk Nov 11, 2013 10:49 AM

      mwk,

      If the chicken were cut up, you wouldn't advise cooking the white meat at the same time as the dark pieces?

      1. re: QueensTomato
        m
        mwk RE: QueensTomato Nov 11, 2013 12:28 PM

        Personally, I find that white meat is very very finicky when braised like you would in a pressure cooker. It dries out and becomes tough and stringy. It also cooks much faster than the dark meat.

        Is there a reason why you need to use a pressure cooker, and why it needs to be a whole chicken?

        I have seen some pressure cooker recipes which use foil packets to slow down cooking of certain ingredients. For example, in a beef stew, they would wrap the carrots in foil to keep them from over cooking. I suppose you might try cutting up the chicken and wrapping the breast in foil. Or, do an experiment and wrap one half of the breast and leave the other unwrapped.

        Honestly, I've never successfully cooked white meat chicken in a pressure cooker. When I've made stews, curries, etc., the dark meat is just so much better.

    2. a
      Alan408 RE: QueensTomato Nov 11, 2013 10:18 AM

      Without a trivet or similar there will be burning/scorching. Based on experience.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Alan408
        QueensTomato RE: Alan408 Nov 11, 2013 10:45 AM

        Alan408,

        If I had a trivet or similar, would it be advised? What can I use in lieu of the trivet and basket that came with the cooker?

        1. re: QueensTomato
          a
          Alan408 RE: QueensTomato Nov 12, 2013 10:56 AM

          I was at a party when the the hostess tried to cook chicken parts in a pressure cooker with out the trivet, the chicken burned before it came up to pressure, we could smell it. Even though she had liquid in the pan, the chicken touching the bottom of the pan burned.

          I looked at my pressure cooker, must be 4-5 qts, a whole chicken will not fit inside my pressure cooker, but yours is larger.....I looked at the manual to see if I could determine the size, I couldn't, then I looked at poultry recipes....all of the recepies recommend cutting into serving pieces before cooking, then I looked at beef recipes, there were 2 for 3lb roasts. So, my pressure manufacturer is recommending parting chicken, but there are recipes for 3lb chunks of beef. There are Cautions in several places about overfilling, There are right and wrong pictures, right food level is below the handle bracket, which looks like ~2/3 full. Wrong food level picture shows food above the bottom of the handle bracket. The text cautions against filling more than 2/3. According to the manual, there are two lines inside my pot; 1/2 and 2/3.

          For a trivet replacement, maybe a couple of empty tuna cans, but that may put the height of the chicken above the 2/3 mark.

          1. re: Alan408
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            Chowrin RE: Alan408 Nov 12, 2013 11:26 AM

            I've never needed a trivet. Occasionally the skin sticks, but that's a far cry from burning. Even after 50 minutes in.

            1. re: Chowrin
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              Alan408 RE: Chowrin Nov 12, 2013 12:01 PM

              Since my last post, I read the instruction booklet for my Presto Pressure cooker.

              I think too high of heat was the reason for my experience of chicken burning before coming to pressure.

              Presto named the trivet a cooking rack, suggested uses are for steaming foods, to hold foods such as vegetables out of the cooking water which allows the cooking of several different foods at the same time without an intermingling of flavors.

              So, based on the owner's manual for my pressure cooker, if the chicken will fit, cook it.

      2. paulj RE: QueensTomato Nov 11, 2013 10:30 AM

        Occasionally I do a large (5-6 lb) chicken in the 6L Fagor. It fits fine.

        Lorna Sass recommends 9 minutes with fast release, but most of her recipes use up cut up chickens. (though my gut feeling is that is too short - still one can check and add more time if needed).

        When placed breast side up, it's the dark meat that is in contact with the cooking liquid (which doesn't need to be much), while the breast is steamed.

        I don't use for a chicken that I want to present whole; instead I remove all the meat after cooking, and put the bones back in the PC for further stock making.

        An alternative is to dismember the bird, put the stock making parts in the bottom of the pot, the dark meat on top, and the breasts on top (or reserve those for another use).

        http://www.hippressurecooking.com/bee...

        9 Replies
        1. re: paulj
          QueensTomato RE: paulj Nov 11, 2013 10:39 AM

          PaulJ,

          I'd like to cook it whole, and carve up to serve after cooking.

          How much cooking liquid have you used and what have you added to the cooker for flavor?

          Thank you for the link. It is interesting and offers good flavor suggestions, but the beer in the parts list is not an option for me.

          1. re: QueensTomato
            biggreenmatt RE: QueensTomato Nov 11, 2013 12:56 PM

            Yeah, that's not gonna happen.

            I *adore* my pressure cooker- it's a completely amazing device- but I don't expect it to act in the same way as an oven or a fry-pan or an ordinary pot.

            An intact bird, I think, would be out of the question, however, if you were to cut it up into bits, marinade overnight (or in 20 mins with a whipping syphon), and then add a beautiful liquid, you've got the makings for jaw-droppingly gorgeous pulled chicken, begging for a squeeze of lime, guac, some white sauce and a small tortilla. If you've got the syphon, I imagine it'd take an hour from start to finish.

            FWIW, good for you for working with the P.C. A far-underutilized utensil, IMO.

            1. re: biggreenmatt
              QueensTomato RE: biggreenmatt Nov 12, 2013 07:15 AM

              What do you think of the following?

              http://www.food.com/recipe/pressure-c...

              Do you think it will work?

              1. re: QueensTomato
                c
                Chowrin RE: QueensTomato Nov 12, 2013 07:21 AM

                that's... a two lb. chicken.
                *shrugs* you'll get edible.

                1. re: QueensTomato
                  C. Hamster RE: QueensTomato Nov 12, 2013 08:24 AM

                  25 minutes in a pressure cooker for a 2 pound chicken?

                  That seems very, very wrong.

                  If you can even find a 2 pound chicken it would take about 45 minutes to roast it in the oven.

                  I love my pressure cooker but I'd never cook a whole chicken in it to carve and serve.

                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    QueensTomato RE: C. Hamster Nov 12, 2013 09:50 AM

                    I noticed the "2 pound" in the recipe too but chalked that up to a typo since in the recipe reviews someone used a larger bird with good results.

                    Hounds that have had any success with a whole bird in a cooker please let me know!

                  2. re: QueensTomato
                    biggreenmatt RE: QueensTomato Nov 13, 2013 06:54 AM

                    I think it'll work, i.e.: you'll get cooked chicken. In the worst case scenario, you open the lid and it's not fully cooked, you just bung it back on the stove, bring it back up to pressure, and cook it longer.

                    To my mind, though, whole chicken is all about the gorgeous bronzed skin, crisp and rendered, savoury, juicy dark meat (my favourite part of the bird, after the fat and skin) and tender, pull-apart white meat. To get that kind of result, you need to use either a convection oven or indirect heat from a BBQ (mine is a BGE, which means I get decent convection action). A pressure cooker just ain't gonna do that, but again, for melt-in-your-mouth pulled chicken, I haven't seen anything better in less time.

                  3. re: biggreenmatt
                    biggreenmatt RE: biggreenmatt Nov 20, 2013 06:58 AM

                    Good timing on this thread- I made myself chicken carnitas in the pressure cooker last night. Full boneless, skinless chicken, a bit of stock to keep everything moist, on the hob for a half hour. Remove and shred chicken, added chili powders, chipotle and adobo sauce to the stock, reduced and added back to the shredded chicken.

                    Magnificent. Super-moist, flavourful, succulent chicken, super-easy, took less than 45 minutes from start to finish.

                    Reason why I'm such a huge fan of the cooker is that it's absolutely perfect for last-minute, weeknight meals. I'm shocked shocked shocked that in these busy times, more people haven't seen the light and bought a cooker or two for themselves.

                    1. re: biggreenmatt
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                      ePressureCooker RE: biggreenmatt Nov 22, 2013 06:37 PM

                      I am too. I used to be one of those people, but I have now seen the light. ;D

              2. boogiebaby RE: QueensTomato Nov 11, 2013 10:53 AM

                I would do it for chicken parts to be used in a dish, like chicken and dumplings, or stew, but I would not do it for a bird you want to serve whole, i.e. like a roasted chicken. An oven is much better suited for that.

                5 Replies
                1. re: boogiebaby
                  C. Hamster RE: boogiebaby Nov 11, 2013 12:51 PM

                  I totally agree

                  You can roast a delicious chicken in an hour.

                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    QueensTomato RE: C. Hamster Nov 15, 2013 05:17 PM

                    How do you roast a chicken in an hour?

                    1. re: QueensTomato
                      C. Hamster RE: QueensTomato Nov 19, 2013 04:34 PM

                      The size chicken specified in the recipe would cook at 375 in probably less than an hour.

                      A larger chicken can be cooked in an hour or less using Barbara Kafka's brilliant high heat recipe. Superb.

                      1. re: C. Hamster
                        QueensTomato RE: C. Hamster Nov 22, 2013 04:57 PM

                        Mainly whats available to me is 4lb chickens. How would I use the high heat recipe?

                        The last time I used high heat was to finish off a steak in a cast iron pan and the smoke alarm went off and the neighbors complained of the smell...

                        1. re: QueensTomato
                          C. Hamster RE: QueensTomato Nov 23, 2013 07:43 AM

                          Use this recipe

                          http://food52.com/recipes/17568-barba...

                          It does throw off smoke but lining your roasting pan with a layer if thinly sliced potatoes helps a lot.

                          Try to buy smaller chickens. They taste better and are more tender.

                2. Chemicalkinetics RE: QueensTomato Nov 13, 2013 09:00 AM

                  I have a pressure cooker (8L I think), and a chicken can definitely fit in it. I am not sure how you want to cook the chicken though.

                  25 Replies
                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    QueensTomato RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 15, 2013 04:20 PM

                    Thanks to all for the input.

                    I imagined that there would be some way that I could prepare a whole chicken in a pressure cooker that would be succulent and tender, flavored with herbs and aromatic vegetables. I thought I could "speed poach" it. But I don't hear any enthusiasm from hounds on this method.

                    1. re: QueensTomato
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                      Chowrin RE: QueensTomato Nov 15, 2013 04:30 PM

                      hmm... cut into flat pieces, and put in the bottom of the pressure cooker, along with "flavorful sauce" (precondensed. you will not lose a jot of water during cooking)...
                      Might work.

                      "flat pieces" being things like legs, halved breasts, you get the picture.

                      A chicken is a roughly circular object with a hole in the center. to use the pressure cooker, you generally put water in to cover... remember, it's a "wet oven" so you're getting well over 250 or so temperatures.

                      1. re: Chowrin
                        QueensTomato RE: Chowrin Nov 15, 2013 06:15 PM

                        Chowrin,

                        I guess the cooker is better suited to cooking pieces for cacciatore or chicken stews. I wonder if the results are as good as using a dutch oven...

                        1. re: QueensTomato
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                          Chowrin RE: QueensTomato Nov 15, 2013 06:25 PM

                          That's what I'd be thinking. But it's probably okay for a marsala, or half a dozen other "poach chicken parts" ideas.

                          It really, really shines with beans.

                          1. re: QueensTomato
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                            mwk RE: QueensTomato Nov 19, 2013 02:50 PM

                            I find that any and all braising/moist heat methods for the white meat of chicken, turn it stringy and tough if you are not ultra, ultra careful about cooking time. The dark meat survives that type of cooking much much better, in my opinion.

                        2. re: QueensTomato
                          Chemicalkinetics RE: QueensTomato Nov 15, 2013 05:38 PM

                          Hi QTomato,

                          That's not what I meant. I didn't mean to criticize you. I just wasn't sure if you want to put the chicken in the pressure cooker and then bake it in an oven (to keep the mositure) or if you want to simmer the entire chicken in water or if you want to make soup out of it......etc.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            QueensTomato RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 15, 2013 06:03 PM

                            Hi Chemicalkinetics,

                            I didn't take your reply as criticism at all. My reply was just to clarify what I had in mind in a marriage of a whole chicken and a pressure cooker.

                            1. re: QueensTomato
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: QueensTomato Nov 15, 2013 06:10 PM

                              I am guessing that baking an entire chicken in a pressure cooker should be tasty. It is like baking except the moisture is kept in. It is like baking with steaming. Of course, some trials and errors will be needed.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                Chowrin RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 15, 2013 06:25 PM

                                +1

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  C. Hamster RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 19, 2013 04:37 PM

                                  It's really not like baking

                                  It's power braising.

                                  Not the best technique except for chicken legs and thighs.

                                  1. re: C. Hamster
                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: C. Hamster Nov 20, 2013 07:53 AM

                                    Why it is more like braising than baking? There should not be much water. Steam? Sure, a little bit may be.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                      mwk RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 20, 2013 09:41 AM

                                      From the Wikipedia definition of Braising:
                                      "Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to break down the tough connective tissue collagen in meat, making it an ideal way to cook tougher cuts. Many classic braised dishes such as coq au vin are highly evolved methods of cooking tough and otherwise unpalatable foods. Pressure cooking and slow cooking (e.g., crockpots) are forms of braising."

                                      1. re: mwk
                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: mwk Nov 20, 2013 12:36 PM

                                        Thanks, but I am thinking about something slightly different. As I have mentioned, what if you just put the chicken in an otherwise empty pressure cooker, and then put the whole thing in the oven:

                                        "I just wasn't sure if you want to put the chicken in the pressure cooker and then bake it in an oven"

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                          m
                                          mwk RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 20, 2013 01:11 PM

                                          If you did that, without any liquid, it would probably burn and turn into a mess.

                                          1. re: mwk
                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: mwk Nov 20, 2013 02:17 PM

                                            Hm... maybe maybe not, but did you read what I write earlier?

                                            Have you ever done non-knead bread? Instead of using the oven directly bake the bread, you put the bread dough in a preheated dutch oven (or whatever container), and let the smaller container to bake the bread.

                                            In some ways this is a similar idea. I am not saying this will work perfectly. I am saying that I don't see how this is braising, unless you think no-knead bread is braising, and not baking.....

                                            http://thepottershand.com/wp-content/...

                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        C. Hamster RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 20, 2013 11:14 AM

                                        Cooking in a closed container with liquid = braising

                                        1. re: C. Hamster
                                          paulj RE: C. Hamster Nov 20, 2013 11:55 AM

                                          Braising is usually distinguished from stewing (or poaching) in that the immersion is not complete. That is easily done in the pressure cooker, though with greater conservation of vapor, the meat when done might swimming.

                                          But classic braising (in old French books) is at low temperatures, below boiling. That of course is not true of the pressure cooker.

                                          Some classic sources also stress browning the meat before the slow cooking. That adds flavor. But in the low and slow version, browning helps kill surface bacteria.

                                          'Braising' is an incomplete description of what is going on in the pressure cooker. Steaming is as useful a descriptor.

                                          1. re: paulj
                                            C. Hamster RE: paulj Nov 20, 2013 12:12 PM

                                            I was distinguishing pressure cooker cookery from baking. Which is definitely isn't.

                                            Cooking in a PC achieves much of the same effect as braising.

                                            1. re: C. Hamster
                                              paulj RE: C. Hamster Nov 20, 2013 12:35 PM

                                              Yes, definitely closer to braising than baking/roasting.

                                              1. re: paulj
                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: paulj Nov 20, 2013 12:39 PM

                                                Are you guys talking about what I was talking about, or are you guys talking about what you are talking about? :)

                                              2. re: C. Hamster
                                                Chemicalkinetics RE: C. Hamster Nov 20, 2013 12:38 PM

                                                <I was distinguishing pressure cooker cookery from baking. Which is definitely isn't.>

                                                I wasn't talking about normal pressure cooking.

                                            2. re: C. Hamster
                                              Chemicalkinetics RE: C. Hamster Nov 20, 2013 12:34 PM

                                              <Cooking in a closed container with liquid = braising>

                                              If the food is somehow submerged in the liquid, then yes.

                                              but you won't call steaming = braising, would you? Since I assume you won't, then this should have even less steam than steaming.....

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                                Chowrin RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 20, 2013 07:30 PM

                                                less steam but higher temperature, no?

                                                1. re: Chowrin
                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: Chowrin Nov 20, 2013 09:51 PM

                                                  Yes, much less steam than steaming, but higher temperature -- should be.

                                            3. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                              ePressureCooker RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 22, 2013 06:41 PM

                                              Well, you only add a small amount of water in the pressure cooker, but during the cooking process the chicken releases A LOT of moisture and fat. You'll often have much more liquid at the end than you had at the start. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, that liquid is delicious and can be used with stuffing, as gravy, for soup, any number of applications.

                                2. paulj RE: QueensTomato Nov 13, 2013 09:06 AM

                                  Normally we are told not to fill a pressure cooker more than 2/3 full, but the top of a single item like a chicken can be higher. The liquid will only be 1 or 2" deep, so there will still be a lot of air space. And the chicken doesn't swell or foam. So as long as there is no chance of it blocking the lid vents (or better yet touching the lid) you will be safe.

                                  1. Atomic76 RE: QueensTomato Nov 13, 2013 01:13 PM

                                    You may want to do a trial run with some chicken thighs first to see if you like the texture of it first before you waste a whole chicken.

                                    Generally speaking, the skin will still be rubbery and greasy and the meat itself gets pulverized and falls apart.

                                    I don't mind it when I am making chicken stock or chicken stew in my pressure cooker. But it's nothing like a roasted chicken if that's what you're expecting.

                                    1. paulj RE: QueensTomato Nov 13, 2013 02:13 PM

                                      I took a 4 qt PC on an extended car camping trip a number of years ago. Several times I bought a frozen chicken (probably in the 3-4 lb range), let it thaw in the cooler, and then cooked it in the PC. At least once I added canned tomatoes etc, made a kind of 'cachiatore'.

                                      In that context cooking the bird whole was a convenience, since I didn't have space or washing facilities to cut it up before cooking.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: paulj
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                                        ePressureCooker RE: paulj Nov 22, 2013 06:43 PM

                                        You don't have to let it thaw first, that's one of the beauties of pressure cookers, you can start with completely frozen meat, and just add on a few minutes to the cooking time.

                                      2. Passadumkeg RE: QueensTomato Nov 20, 2013 12:48 PM

                                        Here is a different method to make Pollo a la Broasted. I learned how to cook it this way in Bolivia.

                                        Print This Post Email This Post
                                        How to Make Broasted ChickenBroasters are frying equipments for chicken or other meats. Broasting chicken involves frying of chicken under pressure using a special marinating process. This specific marinate is available only in restaurants or hotels, so it’s not easy to make at home.

                                        In this process, the taste of the chicken is similar to fried chicken, less greasy, but moister. Boasted chicken appears nutty and crispy, with a golden-brown coating, but very pulpy and tender deep down to the inside of the bone. It’s very appealing to look at and instantly tempting.

                                        Ingredients:
                                        •Fryer chicken: 1
                                        •Water: 4 cups
                                        •Salt: ¼ cup
                                        •Meat Magic Cajun Seasoning: 1 tbsp.
                                        •Baking powder: 2 tsp.
                                        •Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
                                        •Canola oil for frying: 1-2 cups
                                        •Cornstarch: ½ cup
                                        •Seasoned Fry Mix: 1 cup
                                        Instructions:
                                        1.Clean the chicken pieces thoroughly and cut them into bite-size pieces.
                                        2.Pour water in a large bowl, add salt. Place the chicken in the salted water. Soak the meat for about an hour. Do not drain the chicken.
                                        3.Pour canola oil in a pressure cooker and fill it up to 2 inches high. Now turn the stove on and heat the oil uncovered, in the pressure-cooker, until it touches 375 degrees F.
                                        4.Add baking powder, Cajun seasoning, fry-mix, cornstarch, pepper and salt together. Whisk and add sufficient water until it becomes a thin and smooth batter.
                                        5.Take the chicken one at a time, and dip them into the prepared batter. Coat the pieces evenly with it. For this, you can use a tongs. It will make the task easier and less messy.
                                        6.Fry the coated pieces into the pressure cooker. Deep-fry them in the hot canola oil in the pressure cooker for 2-3 minutes.
                                        7.The next step is to put the lid onto the pressure cooker. Cover it tightly and cook the content for 10-12 minutes.
                                        8.Once it’s done, pull up on the pressure valve, letting the vapor escape completely. Now loosen and remove the lid.
                                        9.Drain the chicken pieces out of the oil carefully onto a paper towel, soaking excess grease.
                                        10.Allow the pieces to cool for some time before serving.
                                        11.Serve the dish with your favorite garnishing.
                                        Tips:

                                        •Adding baking powder, flour or cornstarch to the seasoning gives the fried pieces a crispy and crunchy taste and texture.
                                        •Quantity of water may vary, depending upon the requirement.
                                        •If you prefer less oil, you can use other reduced-fat cooking medium as well.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                          C. Hamster RE: Passadumkeg Nov 20, 2013 02:41 PM

                                          You should never pressure fry in a cooker that's not specially designed for doing so.

                                        2. e
                                          ePressureCooker RE: QueensTomato Nov 22, 2013 07:19 PM

                                          QueensTomato, I make chicken in the pressure cooker A LOT. I can help you, but it helps if I have a better idea of what you're trying to do, that helps me know what advice to give for best results.

                                          I've done whole chicken in the pressure cooker a number of times. If all you want to do is essentially poach the chicken super fast, a 4 lb. whole bird will take about 20 - 25 minutes, depending on your pressure cooker. That's leaving the whole bird intact, except I remove the wings because they will fall apart in that time and leave you with a bit of a mess, also, it helps the bird fit in the pot.

                                          Now, doing that, because the breast meat is lower in fat and has fewer connective tissues, it will come out a little more done and not so moist and nice as the thigh and leg meat, which will be so tender taking it off the bone will be a dream, and because of the fat and collagen that have melted, will be far moister and tastier.

                                          If it doesn't have to be a whole chicken, if you're willing to do chicken parts, dark meat (thighs and legs) are your best bet. Pressure cookers do their best with meat that has fat and connective tissue in it like legs and thighs (muscles involved in weight bearing and walking). If you're willing to cut up the chicken before cooking, you could do it in two batches, one dark meat, one white meat. The two whole legs in the pressure cooker, 6 minutes high pressure. The two bone in breasts, 4 minutes.

                                          And you use natural release. Always use natural release with roasts, chicken and turkey parts, pretty much anything but meatballs or ground meat like sausage. If you force quick release, you risk shocking the meat fibers, which could toughen back up.

                                          Now if you actually want a whole bird, something like a roasted chicken, you can actually do that. No wait, doubters and skeptics, hear me out. You partially cook the chicken in the pressure cooker, then you finish it off in the oven. (This method doesn't cook the chicken any faster, but it does combine some of the best qualities of both cooking methods.) The pressure cooker will soften the meat pretty quickly, it will also render a lot of the moisture and fat out of the chicken skin. What I do is take a 4 lb. bird, remove the wings. If you have time, wet brine it. Put it in the pressure cooker, breast side up, so the dark meat is in contact with the heat source instead of the breasts. I'll add a cup of chicken broth, a couple of teaspoons to a tablespoon of chicken base, 2 tablespoons of vermouth or white wine, and 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. (I'll explain why in a minute.) Pressure cook at high pressure 15 minutes using natural pressure release.

                                          (What the baking soda does is change the pH slightly, which allows the Maillard reaction to take place at lower temperatures, and moister environments than it would otherwise be able to happen. The Maillard reaction is what makes the surface of a steak go brown and creates that tasty crust. What it'll do here is it'll brown that cooking broth so it comes out a lovely roasted color with a nice taste, and some of that baking soda will also get on the chicken skin, that'll come in handy for the second part.)

                                          Once the pressure cooker has depressurized, take the lid off and allow the meat to cool in the juices so it reabsorbs some of the liquid. When its cool enough to touch, remove it by jamming your tongs like a fist inside the bird's cavity, tipping it up slightly so all the hot broth inside the cavity goes back into the pot.

                                          Place a wire rack on top of a roasting dish or other pan big enough for the chicken - it should be about an inch deep so air can circulate on the underside of the chicken. Place the chicken on the rack, gently turning it over and patting the skin dry with a paper towel to get it as dry as possible. (Putting it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight will do even more to dry out the skin.) I then brush melted butter over the skin, season it with kosher salt and pepper, and I'll usually put either fresh sage or dried rosemary under the skin, next to the meat. Turn it back breast side up.

                                          Then, depending on your oven set up, you can either broil the chicken for a few minutes until it crisps and browns up, or I have a convection oven, so I cook it at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes to crisp it up. It comes out looking something like the below photo and its delicious.

                                          I have some more experimentation I want to do on this. Just got my hands on Modernist Cuisine at Home, they have a technique where you first treat the bird like a peking duck, then finish it off in a really low oven, so I want to try that. I want to also experiment if there's some way of essentially "larding" the breasts, sticking in some of the fat from a chicken thigh to improve the apparent moistness of the breast meat, but there are definitely several different ways you can cook a whole chicken in a pressure cooker and have it come out pretty darn good.

                                           
                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: ePressureCooker
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                                            Chowrin RE: ePressureCooker Nov 25, 2013 06:16 AM

                                            Wow. this is the best post I have seen in a long, long time. Thank you so much! (and I'll try the baking soda trick).

                                            1. re: Chowrin
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                                              ePressureCooker RE: Chowrin Nov 25, 2013 08:26 AM

                                              Thank you, I've been experimenting a lot on pressure cooking chicken over the past few months, trying to get the recipe just right before I put it on my own site. Glad you liked it, hope QueensTomato finds it useful as well.

                                              And I'll add, I wouldn't try this with a 4Q pressure cooker, because at least when the lid is off, if you heat the broth and baking soda mixture, the baking soda foams up, and I've seen evidence after cooking that it appears to do so while under pressure, so you don't want it foaming up and clogging your pressure valve. I haven't seen any evidence that the foam reaches up to my valve on my 6 quart pressure cooker (I have an electric model, and it has a false "bottom" that holds up the gasket and helps protect the pressure valve from contact.), but 4 quarts might be pushing your luck.

                                            2. re: ePressureCooker
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                                              OzarkHome RE: ePressureCooker Dec 5, 2013 03:35 PM

                                              I just made a whole chicken this way tonight - really great! Thank you so much for posting this. :)

                                              1. re: OzarkHome
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                                                ePressureCooker RE: OzarkHome Dec 6, 2013 12:45 PM

                                                Great! Glad you found it useful. Since posting the above, I have made an additional improvement. I read somewhere that when roasting chickens, Michael Ruhlman puts either an onion or lemons inside the bird cavity to help keep the breast meat from overcooking. I didn't want to use lemons because of the flavor they might add, possible acidity issues and they probably would become soft pretty quickly. I also opted against onion because I thought it too would become soft and lose its shape (and not block or absorb as much energy as a result) so I used a peeled raw potato instead.

                                                Place a peeled, raw potato inside the bird's cavity (try to pick one that will fill the cavity as completely as possible, its okay if it sticks out the back). Keep that potato there both while pressure cooking and finishing off the bird in the oven, and the white meat will be moister and closer to where it should be. The potato does complicate the removal of the bird from the pressure cooker, you can either make some foil straps to put beneath the bird to lift it up, or you could temporarily remove the potato and then put it back in right after removing it from the pressure cooker.

                                                The potato won't be cooked enough, even after pressure cooking and the stint in the oven to eat, however, you could always cook it for a few additional minutes while you let the bird rest, or finish cooking it the next day, so there's no waste.

                                              2. re: ePressureCooker
                                                j
                                                jammy RE: ePressureCooker Dec 22, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                Great post! I'm a pressure cooker convert. Did a nice chunk of brisket last night that was done in 2 hours.

                                                Btw, how is Modernist Cuisine at Home working out for you?

                                                1. re: jammy
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                                                  ePressureCooker RE: jammy Dec 22, 2013 01:02 PM

                                                  Thank you, I'm glad you found it helpful / informative.

                                                  As far as Modernist Cuisine at Home, I love it. Very interesting. I love experimenting with food preparation, and all the things I can figure out to do in my pressure cooker, so its right up my alley, (Though its really making me wish I had a sous vide and a combi oven, too, but neither is in the budget.)

                                                  Before I'd ever looked at it, I'd read that they used baking soda in small amounts in the pressure cooker to change the pH slightly to make the Maillard reaction happen in a moist environment, to make a caramelized carrot soup. The minute I read that, I went bonkers, it was an epiphany, I figured if it worked with carrots, it would work with a bunch of other things. Made French onion soup with it, cooked garlic in the pressure cooker with it, started caramelizing mirepoix, and then I started experimenting with stock and meat. Its been really interesting.

                                                  And of course, when I finally got hold of the book, I found they had used the baking soda trick to make caramelized onions, too, though they did it in a different way than I had done. (I want to try their method and compare.) And there are a surprisingly large number of pressure cooker recipes in it, and they really seem to get how to get the most out of pressure cooking food.

                                                  So far, I've made the pork adobo, it was delicious, had such an intense, rich flavor. I'm rounding up the ingredients to make the carnitas. And I tried part of their recipe for roast chicken (they dipped the bird in boiling water repeatedly like Peking Duck, I just cooked it in the pressure cooker to render some of the moisture and fat out of the skin and soften the meat) - but instead of butter, as I'd been using, I brushed the chicken skin with soy sauce, and darned if it didn't look and taste a lot like the Costco roast chickens. I'd always wondered what they put on their chickens to give the skin that color, taste. ;D

                                                  1. re: ePressureCooker
                                                    paulj RE: ePressureCooker Dec 23, 2013 11:12 AM

                                                    The Splendid Table did an interview with Medvid (sp?) regarding the food photography book, and to go with that, have a sweet potato soup.

                                                    That recipe first cooks some sweet potatoes with plenty of water (20min in the PC) to make a 'stock'. Then they cook a second batch of sweet potatoes with a bit of baking soda to produce that caramelized taste. Those are pureed and combined with the stock.

                                                    But I didn't see any added water in that 2nd step, and am worried that I could end up burning the potatoes, rather than caramelizing them. I have a Fagor, which isn't quite as low of a water user as the more expensive ones they use.

                                                    I suppose I could follow their recipe, but substitute an oven roasted sweet potato.

                                                    1. re: paulj
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                                                      ePressureCooker RE: paulj Dec 23, 2013 12:52 PM

                                                      There's probably a typo - you should NEVER operate a pressure cooker without adding water. You could actually damage your cooker, aside from the fact that it won't work if there isn't enough liquid to produce steam.

                                                      You won't get nearly the same results with an oven roasted sweet potato as you would with the baking soda in the pressure cooker version. I'd add at least a cup of water to the sweet potato in the second round.

                                              3. m
                                                Miss Priss RE: QueensTomato Dec 17, 2013 09:31 PM

                                                I'm very late to this discussion and may inadvertently repeat something already said, but I often make a whole chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lbs) in my 5-liter stovetop pressure cooker using some version of the recipe from the Kuhn Rikon recipe book. In brief: truss the chicken (maybe with some garlic, herbs, and lemon inside) and brown it in oil in the cooker; remove it; brown garlic and onions in the cooker; add cut-up carrots and celery; add seasonings; add 1/4 to 1/3 cup broth or wine; return the chicken to the pot, breast up (the vegetables act as a rack); and cook on high pressure for about 25 minutes - or less, using natural pressure release. This produces moist, tasty braised chicken with a nice amount of broth. I haven't found the white meat to be dry or stringy. Sometimes I puree the broth and vegetables in the blender to make a sauce; sometimes not. I wouldn't serve this dish to company, but it's a fine casual meal for a weeknight. The leftover chicken is good as is, or as a component of other dishes. Give it a try!

                                                1. s
                                                  sueatmo RE: QueensTomato Dec 22, 2013 02:21 PM

                                                  I cook a fryer-sized chicken in my 6 qt cooker. I don't use a trivet or basket. I use plenty of water because I want broth. If I want to enjoy eating the chicken, I cook the chicken, halved, on the lowest possible pressure for about 20 min, timed from the beginning of the pressure release. I turn off the heat, and bring the pressure down quickly (usually) and carefully unlid the pot. I strain out the liquid and replace it and the bones and some of the meat, reserving the white meat and the dark meat of the thighs. The reserved broth and bones go back into the pot for another 20 minutes or so to produce a stronger broth.

                                                  You can use the cooked chicken for chicken salad or for chicken and dumplings, but it won't be good for much else, IMO.

                                                  You don't braise the chicken this way. It is more like making soup or broth. I usually use aromatics in the broth in the beginning.

                                                  Hope this helps.

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