04 Jan Instant Pot Chicken Stock
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I love my Instant Pot. I use it at least twice a week (usually more) because it’s freakishly amazing. One of the most frequent uses for it is making chicken stock.
We’re sort of hooked on the rotisserie chickens from Costco. They’re tasty, and they go a long way towards keeping our busy family fed all week long. Amanda makes a chicken sandwich for lunch pretty well every day, and I like the legs for my lunches working from home. In a pinch, our DD will gladly sit down to gnaw on a drumstick (her favourite part) with some sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.
So it stands to reason that with all that chicken we’re bound to end up with some bones. And with bones comes the best way to extend the life of a roasted chicken: the stock.
You can actually move this along if you want to and break down the chicken, separating the meat and storing it in containers. That’s up to you. Another alternative is to keep them in the original container (as we do), and, if more is needed, freeze the bones. But for this one, let’s assume we’ve gone through two chickens and it’s now time to make some stock.
Step one is easy. Put the bones in the instant pot, strings and all. Yup. Strings too…they were wrapped around the chicken, and we want to get all the flavour out (relax, you’re not eating anything that’s going in this pot!).
Roughly chop a medium onion, two or three cloves of garlic, two large carrots, and two stalks of celery. You can add fennel if you like, that’s totally optional. I also like to add some sliced mushrooms for a little richness.
Now, here’s the trick: add some hot water to the bottom of the chicken container from the store. This will release all the fat and jelly that’s accumulated in the bottom of the container. You want ALL of that stuff, and the water will let it float off so you can pour it into the instant pot.
Back to the pot…add a tablespoon of black peppercorns, a big pinch of salt (sea salt or Himalayan pink salt are my favourites). Throw in two star anise, and liberally season with poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, and a dash of basil. I also like to add in a couple of bay leaves, and some fresh sage or rosemary if they’re handy (dried is fine too). A dash of cumin really bumps it all up, as does a good helping of dried parsley.
Pour in the water from the container, if you haven’t already. Top everything up with water until it’s almost covered, making sure not to pass the safety line for pressure cooking.
Put the lid on. Press Manual, and adjust to HIGH. Set the time for 20 minutes, and make sure the release valve is locked in the “pressure” position. Sit back and enjoy the music.
When the timer goes off, you can either use a slow release or quick release, it doesn’t matter. But once the pressure is released, leave the pressure valve in the open position (or switch to the slow cooker lid), and set the pot to slow cook on low for as long as you like. It’s all cooked, so this is just added for some extra flavour and a little more love (and also to kill time until the evening). I’ll go as long as four hours.
When it’s done, you’ll need to strain it. I use large stock pot, covered with a colander. Pour everything (CAREFULLY!!) through the colander into the stock pot, and use a wooden spoon to move it around and drain it all out completely. You can set the goop aside, as it’s basically compost now and you’ve got everything you need from it.
Rinse out the Instant Pot, and take a fine strainer or sieve and cover the pot. Pour the contents of the stock pot through the fine strainer back into the Instant Pot, stirring as necessary. You should now be left with a nice, clear stock. If it’s cool enough, place it in mason jars in the fridge, or in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. You can always tell a good stock if it turns to jelly when cooled, but even if it’s not perfectly smooth it will taste amazing!
I like the bag in the freezer version, because it can be laid flat. Just take a bag out when you want to make soup! The jar in the fridge is handy for things like risotto or other stove-top recipes that call for smaller quanitites of chicken stock.
Do you have any special tricks or tweaks you use for making stocks? If so, share them in the comments below. And let us know if you try this recipe out!