Whenever I mention to ANYONE how easy it it to make gluten free food in a pressure cooker, I swear, they always look at me askance. And I always get the same story. My mother (or my grandmother) used a pressure cooker and one time it blew up and everything hit the ceiling. There’s no way I’m ever going to use one of them. Never ever. They are the devil. (I beefed the comments up a little bit for dramatic purposes).
I’m here to tell you otherwise. Trust me, I’m usually timid around trying anything that smacks of danger. Which is why you can be sure that I never bungee jumped off a bridge in Vermont (see this post). But there was something about this contraption that just called my name. Quick gluten free. Easy gluten free. Spot on tasty gluten free. I was smitten before I even tried the darned thing.
Before I was diagnosed with Celiac, I used to LOVE going out for a quick bite. We had our favorite haunts, especially this one little hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant that catered to students and faculty from a nearby college. But that restaurant became verboten after my diagnosis. The risk for cross contamination was just too high.
From a practical day-to-day standpoint, this has translated to a whole lot more cooking at home. Enter, stage right. The pressure cooker. Talk about quick and easy and delicious gluten free food!! I tell you no lie. The chicken soup I made this morning took me under 20 minutes, including defrosting the chicken. Ok, maybe, if you add the time it took to prep the veggies, it took 25 minutes, but if you don’t count the prep, 20 minutes is pretty darn impressive, don’t you think?
In the past, when I made chicken soup, I would have to let the soup chill after it cooked and then remove the congealed fat. Not this time. No fat in sight. And we ate it for lunch, just a few hours after I finished cooking it. And to boot, I had two breasts left over to make chicken salad with. Now that’s what I call easy, sensible, practical gluten free cooking.
I wouldn’t suggest dusting off your old pressure cooker, the one your Aunt Sally gave you. And while I scour thrift stores for good deals, I’m not sure I’d buy a used pressure cooker, just for the safety issue alone. Put it on your wish list. And when you can swing it, think about buying a brand spanking new one.
BTW, I have two pressure cookers. I much prefer the seven liter turn-top Kuhn Rikon model that I have. It is superior by far in performance to the other one I have. It was more expensive, but definitely worth it. Oh, did I mention? Brown rice in 15 minutes. Plus the time it takes to pour the rice, water and oil into the cooker. Not to mention, with Passover just a few weeks ago, this would be a great addition to your seder meal, for those of you who celebrate the holiday. Using the pressure cooker to make gluten free chicken soup will leave you a whole lot of extra time to make gluten free matzo. What? You’ve never had gluten free matzo. Oh my. Your seder will never be the same. Look here.
Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup (with leftover chicken for chicken salad)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 c. vegetable or chicken stock (I used water and Better Than Bouillion Vegetable stock base)
2 large bay leaves
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
1/2 c. fresh parsley, stems removed
1 tsp dried dill
S&P, to taste
2 oz. gluten free egg noodles, optional
Heat oil in pressure cooker. Add onion, carrots, parsnips, celery and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes or until veggies begins to soften.
Add stock, bay leaves, chicken, parsley and dill.
Bring pressure cooker to high pressure then reduce and cook for 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure cooker to stand for 5 minutes, then run under cold water to enable a quick release which will get rid of the remaining pressure in the cooker. Make sure to tilt the lid away from your face when you remove the lid from the cooker.
Strain the stock and return it to the pressure cooker. When the chicken comes to room temperature, shred or cut two breasts with a knife and return to the pressure cooker with the remaining vegetables (if you want to use them). Add salt and pepper to taste. Reserve the remaining two breasts for chicken salad.
If you can’t imagine eating chicken soup without noodles, cook them separately and add to the finished soup. I wouldn’t recommend boiling the finished soup and cooking the noodles in it, as the starch from the noodles will turn it into a thick stew.
P.S. If you decide you’d rather use all four breasts for the soup, increase the liquid by at least two additional cups. Make sure your pressure cooker isn’t more than 2/3 full.
Is there a learning curve when first using a pressure cooker? Yes. But it’s small. It won’t be long before you’re using it at every meal. I use mine to make brown rice, hearty multi grain breakfast cereal, applesauce, cooked chickpeas, hummus, just to name a few things.
Other Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Recipes:
For those of you who offered me congratulations for winning the Mematastic Award, thank you so much from deep down in my gluten free diva heart. And for those of you who threw your hat in the ring and tried to guess which of my five factoids was true, I am here to tell you it was number 4. While I would love to write children’s books, children’s songs is where I shine. I signed on to sell Mary Kay and found it wasn’t my cup of tea. The pink cadillac might’ve been fun, though. I never won the lottery but if I did, I’d give all (ok, most) of it away. Me, bungee jump? I don’t think so. And yes, my second and longest running piano teacher, Elena Wolkonsky, was a Russian princess by marriage. I adored her and will remember her forever.
1. I am a ghost writer for a very famous series of children’s books.
2. After five years of selling Mary Kay Cosmetics, I won a pink cadillac.
3. I once won the lottery and then had to relocate and assume a new name.
4. My second piano teacher was a Russian princess by marriage.
5. When I was 22, I bungee jumped off a bridge in Vermont.