Seriously, You’ve Got to Get a Pressure Cooker

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Last night I made the BEST dinner! I am kicking myself for not taking a photo but to tell the truth, I didn’t think it was going to be that good!

Earlier this week I put a pound of soaked pintos in the pressure cooker and filled it with water. I added a heaping tablespoon of bacon grease, a quarter cup of homemade taco seasoning, one chopped chipotle pepper in adobo, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic (maybe, I don’t really measure garlic, I just kind of dump it in) and salt and pepper to taste. I cooked them on high for 15 minutes. I let them release naturally which made them very soft and silky and daaaaaannnnngggggg those are some good beans!

Now I’m not sure why I’m doing this but I’m going to tell you one of our secrets to amazing home cooking: the spice blends at Penzeys. There’s a storefront in the shopping center at LBJ and Preston (southwest corner) but you can also shop online and get free shipping on orders over $30 and they’ll send you free stuff to boot! We LOVE that place. The herbs and spices are fresh and the blends make seasoning a no-brainer. We have our own little herb garden in the backyard and we use the heck out of the stuff we’ve grown, but if we didn’t grow it, we got it at Penzeys.

Now for the main dish: I took a whole bird and gave her a good rinse and took everything that was inside of her out. (Yikes!) I dried her with paper towels and then gave her a nice massage with olive oil and herbs. You have a TON of choices here and I’m not sure you can mess this part up. I put a spice blend from Penzeys called Ruth Anne’s, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Then I browned the bird in the pressure cooker. Once this is done, you can take the bird out and put her on the little rack that comes with your pressure cooker but that seemed unnecessary to me so I just slipped half an onion in the cavity, poured in 1 cup of chicken stock, locked the lid and cooked on high for 25 minutes. I let the pressure cooker release naturally while I heated up the beans and made a Caesar salad. Right before serving, I put a little more olive oil on the skin and popped it in the oven on broil to crisp up the skin. I also strained the stock and put it in a freezer bag for soup making.

Lemme just tell you, this chicken fell off the bone! It was super juicy and deeeeelish! I’ve already got plans to add lemon, rosemary and aromatics to the stock next time. I can myself rubbing it with chili powder, garlic, cumin and paprika and serving it with tortillas. Big Daddy was suggesting this method for soup or chicken and dumplings. This dinner was so good it felt like I was cheating on one of our go-to restaurants, Cowboy Chicken!

If you’ve been thinking about buying a pressure cooker but haven’t pulled the trigger, there will probably be some Amazon deals on or around Black Friday or Cyber Saturday but why wait? I have a Cuisinart Pressure Cooker that I bought refurbished off eBay. I liked this option because it’s cheap and I can get any replacement parts I need on eBay too! (In two years of regular use, I’ve only needed to replace the rubber gasket that seals the lid and she’s rocking on perfectly!) I paid less that $60 for my gizmo and I use it at least twice a week, often daily. It’s that handy. Steamed veggies in no time flat. Beans in 20 minutes. Homemade mac and cheese that’s too easy to be safe. Perfect hard boiled eggs. Cheap and delicious homemade stock. Flawless poached chicken. Homemade soup every week (I can’t even enjoy Campbells anymore because mine is so much better!). Fast, easy, and money-saving. There’s a reason I’ve named her Jolene. She’s become part of the family.

Here’s hoping your Thursday is a winner!


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