Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Stressed Out Chicken

Chicken cooked under pressure - hence stressed out chicken - is the second dish I decided to try using the pressure cooker.

Now this was an interesting experience. I've had Chicken Cacciatore before and it was indeed delicious. It also was one of those dishes that tastes better on the second day so that the meat gets yummily infused with the sauce. So could the pressure cooker compete.

I'm generally a bit of a freak when first trying a new recipe to try to do things exactly according to the directions. Even if I think there's a better way, I view this as a sort of scientific way of ensuring a a control group before introducing variables. However, when I saw the recipe before me, a Company's Coming Appliance Cooking recipe (specific for a pressure cooker), I had to start modifying as some it just didn't seem right . I wasn't keen on adding a green pepper and I just couldn't bring myself to use garlic powder instead of the real thing (when I get to smoker cooking though, you'll see that garlic powder does have a place in the world, but that's another blog).

First I browned 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, right in the cooker with a bit of oil. Then added a sliced onion and some fresh mushrooms sliced. Again, I departed from the recipe here as it said to mix the next 11 ingredients in a bowl and then add - I figure that pressure cooking has the advantage of being a one bowl type of meal, why dirty more dishes than necessary! So I added white wine (another departure instead of apple juice, because really, isn't a person more apt to have wine on hand vs. fruit juice), dried oregano, dried basil, sugar, salt, pepper, and 2 cloves garlic finely chopped. Another omission was some water as they say you need a minimum of 1/2 cup liquid for pressure cooking and I had more than enough already, and I wanted a thicker, not runny sauce. I secured the lid, brought up to pressure on high heat, and cooked 5 minutes. Instead of releasing the pressure I let it drop on its own which took about 10 minutes. Done!

I served this over a fresh fettuccine I made. It was delicious. The chicken was super tender and had very good flavour. The sauce was a nice thick texture (if I had kept the water I think it would have been too runny). I wasn't diligent in taking photos of the cacciatore making, but did get some of the pasta prep. After rolling and cutting my pasta I hang it on wooden dowels to dry. Then it's easy work slipping it into bowling water for cooking.

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