Sunday, March 19, 2017

Farmhouse Chicken Noodle Soup (Pressure Cooker Style)

First, let me explain that if you don't own a pressure cooker, you can still make this recipe in a regular old stock pot. Just increase the cooking time by four times! If you do own a pressure cooker, then this is THE chicken soup recipe for you! Pinkie promise!

Besides making this in a pressure cooker, with only 20 minutes of cooking time*, the chicken broth turns out to be super flavorful-- and there is an unexpected ingredient that helps to give that special "umami" that tickles the taste buds.

I did a little internet search for "Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup" and was surprised that many of the recipes list "chicken bouillon" or "chicken broth" as an ingredient.  That made no sense to me! 
I wanted to make chicken soup with....well, chicken!  I knew I wanted to add a mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery), herbs etc. and nothing else!  Then I remembered one of my most used books, "Pressure Cooker Perfection"  from America's Test Kitchen.

The recipe is so very, very simple. Really!  Using the "saute" button, I softened the onion with some salt for a few minutes, then added garlic, then the vegetables.

What I didn't do, per the recipe, was to add thyme. Instead, I made a "bouquet garni" of 6 fresh parlsey stems and 3 stems of fresh thyme, and tied it up with twine.  That way, I could just toss it away, once the soup was done. (I prefer to add fresh chopped thyme, as a garnish, at the end.

 .. next, 8 cups of water (use less, so that you don't fill your PC above the maximum line).

Here's comes the "secret" ingredient. Soy sauce!  (I used low-sodium soy sauce.).  At first I was hesitant, but I've remembered that America's Test Kitchen uses this ingredient in many other recipes I've mad.  Okay, so here goes...

After adding water and the soy sauce, I nestled a whole (organic) chicken, breast up.
Today, as I am writing this blog post, I'm making another batch of this soup. This time, I bought an (organic) cut-up chicken, bone in-- two split chicken breasts and four legs.  The reason that I went with a "cut up" chicken is to make removing the skin and meat much easier. With a whole chicken, that sucker was hot, and that made cutting it up a bit of a challenge! Your choice.

You simply lock on the lid, and hit MANUAL (on the Instant Pot) and then 20 minutes, or bring your stove top PC to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.  If you're cooking on a regular stove top pot, simmer for about 90 minutes.

America's Test Kitchen says once time is up, for the soup, to do a quick pressure release.  Be careful! The first time I made the soup, I had used a full 8-cups and some hot juice spit out!  I had to wrap a towel around the lid, to prevent a big mess and I steered clear.  The second time I made this soup, I used one cup less water and I did a natural release (about 15 minutes). Much better!

There is one step, in the original recipe, that I did not follow--  I did not cook the noodles in the broth. I cooked my egg noodles separately, in salted water, then drained and rinsed them.  When it was time to serve, I added noodles at the bottom of a bowl, then poured on the chicken soup. 

It was dark, by the time we ate dinner, so I didn't take any photos-- until the next day... when I packed some soup for my lunch.

TASTING NOTES:  It was a chilly and wet night when we sat down to eat this soup. My husband and son were happily slurping away, loving the flavor of the soup. Me? I was on the fence about the soy sauce-- wondering if it was too much.  The next day, I heated up the soup for my work lunch (hence the red cup and newspaper paper mat).  Wow!  The soup tasted even better! No kidding! I loved it so much, that I knew this would be my new "go to" chicken soup recipe.  I like to make soups for my grown son to take to his own home-- and it doesn't hurt to have a frozen quart (or two) on hand for those days when someone isn't feeling well.  Chicken Soup for the Soul... yes, indeed.

As always, a printable recipe is at the end of this post.


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The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I made a pressure cooker chicken soup last week and I have decided I will not use a quick release ever again. I had a pretty squirt session when I did that. I will either use a natural release or do a partial natural release.

I didn't use soy sauce though. I will give that a shot the next time for sure.

Anonymous said...

This recipe is virtually identical to the PC Chicken Soup that I've made for years and YES, it is exceptional. Those who not care for soy sauce can try a small splash of Maggi, but it does not take much. For reasons that I'll never understand, I have an intense dislike for thyme, so I leave it out. And heavens yes!! Any chicken soup with that much chicken simply has to be good. After a closer reading of your formula, I've increased the veggie load in my soup and I think it improves the flavor.
As much as I wish that I had time to make my own noodles or big, floppy elephant ears of eggy paparadelli (sp?) the best substitute I've found is Home Style Egg Pasta from Country Pasta, of Polson, MT, 59860 or They use locally grown Durum Wheat and fresh whole eggs. Period. Their noodles are usually available in most Costco stores as a 64 Oz. bag. As a bonus, they are also wonderfully cheerful and friendly people.
Like you, I make the soup and noodles separately, combining freshly cooked noodles with frozen soup as necessary. Another P.C. winner, Debby. Sure, I still use a stovetop, rattle top P.C. and it works just fine. I've seen all of the safety warnings over the last few decades, but I've never had a problem. The elderly rattle tops cook a slightly higher pressure, so cooking time is reduced a bit more. I also use the quick release method (running cold water) for nearly everything. That is likely habit more than anything, but it works. How the heck can one improve on basic, homemade chicken soup? Best wishes,
-Craig (the other one).