Under Pressure

four member family in bed blowing nosesA number of my friends have proclaimed the coming of the Zombie Apocalypse. Patient Zero began showing symptoms over a week ago and has now infected the rest of their household. Soon, the only thing to do will be large quarantine signs and/or large caliber handguns.

Fortunately, hopefully, this can be remedied before such extreme measures. Under any normal circumstances, this would call for slow-cooked chicken noodle soup. By letting the bird simmer for hours, all that near-magical bone broth goodness can seep into the liquid and fix all manner of wrong up to, and including, zombie head/chest colds. Unfortunately, my day gig is insane this time of year and doesn’t allow for watching a pot of soup for 12 hours. There’s simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done. I want to help, but I’m under too much pressure to…

Too. Much. Pressure…

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of ALL Persuasions: I give to you the star of tonight’s feature the pressure cooker.

stainless steel pressure cooker on stove top

Now, I use an old-school style cooker. You know, the kind that every grandma’s neighbor three doors down had that blew up their kitchen AND THEY DIED while using it? (One of my favorite urban myths, by the way. Pressure cookers have redundant pressure release systems. They don’t blow up during any reasonable and normal use.) Nothing against the modern Quik Pot Insta-pot systems. They’re sleek, they’re sexy, and they work like a dream for a huge number of tasks making them a perfect multi-tasker. The only thing they don’t do is go to a high enough pressure for full-on canning like you need to do with low-acid and low sugar foods such as veggies and meats. I do that sort of thing, so I use the older style.

The beauty of cooking with pressure is the temperatures that can be reached allow for MUCH quicker cook times. In canning, we use those higher temps to kill off any possible bacteria that might have snuck into the jar and avoid pesky things like botulism. And one of the main goals of making food is to try not to kill the folks eating it. For cooking, it’s all about the time.

For today’s recipe, Chicken Soup for the Zombie Soul, I cooked a whole-bird chicken in roughly 20 minutes while saving every drop of the of the stock to make the soup. Compared to normal methods, that puts me about 10 hours 40 minutes ahead of the game. I then took the bones, put them back into the cooker with more water and a bit of salt, and made the bone broth in an additional 15 minutes.

So, in either a traditional pot or an Insta-Pot, give this one a try. Maybe together we can save civilization!