Christmas has come and gone. We were blessed to spend time with both sides of our family two days in a row. We even got this lovely new gadget for our kitchen - the Instant Pot. I admit, I have been eyeballing this fancy device while scrolling my friends’ profiles on social media and even added it once or twice to my Amazon shopping cart. But I often missed the dang sale everyone raves about. Luckily, my sister-in-law kindly thought we could use one in our kitchen, so here it is finally as a Christmas gift!
But unfortunately, with this season also comes the dreaded viruses that plague family households. My husband came down with a sore throat and congestion. Then a few days later, passed it on to me. On a positive note, his illness prompted me to try out my new toy for some scratch-made chicken soup before I even showed any symptoms. So, my girls joined me on an adventure through our favorite Trader Joe’s for some quality and affordable ingredients. The night before, I sifted through a bunch of Pinterest recipes and decided to combine two that I thought would help a newbie like me get it done... quick-style. But as everything goes in Kusina Adamos for the first time, we were literally running out the door to piano lessons while I set the timer on the IP after adding the final ingredients to cook.
First off, I was pleasantly surprised to find how clear the broth appeared. I learned that since the IP has no “bubbling” in the broth due to the pressure while cooking, the broth will remain a lovely glass-like liquid “au jus.” The herbal fragrance permeated my entire house that evening and throughout the next day. But yes, venting the pressure literally freaked out my kids - they’re a bit sensitive to loud noise, so plugging the ears worked just fine. I think I was a bit freaked out too and waited a few extra moments even after the last of the steam escaped before twisting the lid open. (I recommend having the kids steer clear of the pot when venting and opening.) Then, voila! Full-flavored chicken and veggie soup to heal our broken noses and soothe our souls.
The original recipes that I combined came from a gluten-free blogger who shared her Jewish grandma’s recipe. The second recipe came from an Instant Pot blogger - so helpful for someone who knows nothing about pressure cooking. I think I could omit the Worcestershire sauce that came from the IP blogger’s recipe (I think it turned off my kids from eating the whole bowl). Note to self: listen to grandma and keep it simple. But your family may think differently, so adjust as needed. Also, there are more Keto-friendly versions that I would like to pursue. In this case, I would just reduce the amount of carrots and celery to cut the carbs, as well as keep the skin on the breast and thighs as needed for increased fat. You could even swap the carrots for some type of gourd like squash or zucchini. Regardless of the future modifications, here’s how I pulled it together.
(Tap open “Read More” for recipe...)
Ingredients from a Jewish grandma’s chicken soup (and then some...)
1 whole chicken (cut up, bone in, skin off breasts & thighs if desired)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, fine diced
5 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled, 1/4 inch chopped
3 celery stalks, trimmed, 1/4 inch chopped
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons basil, chopped (I used frozen chopped basil from Dorot)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, removed from the stems
4-6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water (or more to cover all the ingredients in the pot)
2 teaspoons salt & 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
Optional 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Optional chopped parsley for garnish
Instructions from an IP blogger (with a few modifications...)
1. Turn Instant Pot on "Saute" settings, add olive oil, then add onions and garlic. Cook until soft.
2. Rub salt and pepper to both sides of chicken. Add chicken to pot and sear on both sides until brown.
3. Add broth, bay leaf,basil, thyme leaves and Worcestershire.
4. Close the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. *Press "Cancel" to stop the "Saute" setting. Turn the steam release handle to “Sealing.” Press the "Pressure Cook" button. Set the time to 15 minutes.
5. After the cooking time is complete, press "Cancel" and carefully release the pressure by turning the steam release to “Venting.” You can also wait a few extra moments for it to cool down for safety.
6. Once pressure completely releases, open lid and gently shred the chicken. If you like cubed chicken in your soup, you can remove the chicken then cut it into small bite sized pieces and then return to the broth. Discard the bones.
7. Add the carrots & celery. Close lid and pressure cook for an additional 5 minutes. When cooking has
finished press "Cancel" and release the steam pressure again.
8. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
9. Serve warm by itself, 1-2 cups per person. Optional garnish with minced parsley.
10. Option (for Filipinos like my family), add 1/4 cup of steamed rice to the bottom of your bowl then ladle a serving of the warm soup on top.