Homemade Chicken & Vegetable Soup – in the pressure cooker

Many people assume that you can’t cook properly in a motorhome.  I’m here to prove them wrong.  We’ve been away just over 2 weeks now and I’ve made, from scratch, chicken pie, beef wellington, chicken & vegetable soup, wrapped pesto chicken and toad in the hole.  Oh, and little fairy cakes, of course 🙂

We eat properly most days – we make other proper meals, just not ‘from scratch’, eg. curry from a jar.

So I thought I’d share a couple of my ‘recipes’ (such as they are, I have base ingredients and then just make it up as I go along, usually according to what I’ve got available..)

So, chicken soup then.  We brought with us our pressure cooker (it lives tucked away under one of the seats, together with my hand held whisk, for cakes, and our little slow cooker).

I’m going to give you a list of ingredients up front, but you’ll notice there are no measurements, I’ll deal with this as I run through ‘how to’.  Also the ingredients can change – dependant on what you have in the cupboard.  So you can use any root vegetables you fancy (I would stick with 3 types max) and whatever beans you prefer (although I always try to include butter beans).

You will need:- Onion, celery, garlic, chicken thighs (shredded), carrots, swede (or turnip or parsnip or celeriac) & potatoes, butter beans & borlotti, red kidney or haricot beans (or whatever else you fancy – cannellini perhaps?)  PLUS Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce if you must), tarragon OR rosemary, chicken seasoning, salt & pepper.

HOW TO:

1st off, chop the onion, celery and garlic finely.  Using the STEW function add a little olive oil (or sesame oil if you prefer a little more flavour) to the pressure cooker and then gently cook off your onion, celery & garlic.

Now, whilst still using the STEW function, add your chicken thighs (I normally buy a pack of about 8 and cook them all in 1 go – you can use half for the soup and half for a chicken pie, or simply freeze the 2nd half ready for another batch of soup). Turn them to ‘take the edge off of the pinkness’. (Leave skin on for now).

Next job is to add some water.  You only need enough to provide steam – I probably use about 2 cups, but use your own judgement here – the chicken will take about 18 minutes to cook.  Cancel the STEW function and secure the lid on the pressure cooker, with the steam outlet closed. (We use a Pressure King Pro electric model, and have been really happy with it).  Now press the MEAT function.  You can adjust the time as you feel necessary – like I said I normally put it to 18 minutes.

Whilst the chicken is cooking prepare the veg.  Peel and chop into small bite-sized chunks – don’t be stingy! Also open and drain the beans that you’ve chosen to use and make sure you’ve got all your seasonings handy 🙂

Once done release the pressure and remove the chicken thighs from the cooker.  Leave the onion etc. in the pan – you’re going to add to that in a minute.

It’s always good to have a handy helper around here.  Calv often helps me with the chicken thighs in removing the skin and giving me the meat ready to shred (he’s not allowed to do that bit because he leaves the chicken in pieces that are too big!)

I now put the cooker back to stew for a while and add all the veg, just stirring for a couple of minutes.  Add water as needed – but, don’t forget, you don’t need as much as you think you do – the water WILL NOT evaporate!  So probably just another cup or 2, dependant on how much you already have in there, of course.

Then add in some Worcestershire sauce (however much you fancy) and your rosemary, or tarragon.  Don’t forget the chicken seasoning – don’t be stingy with this 🙂 and your salt and pepper.  Finally add in your beans and your shredded chicken.  Give it a good stir, assess whether or not you need more seasoning, and, once you’re happy, pop the lid back on, adjust the steamer outlet and hit the SOUP function.  Again you can change the time as you want, I usually set it to about 28 minutes.

Once finished leave the soup in the bowl with the lid off for a while, this helps it to thicken up a little, before sharing it out.

Of course, you might be eating it straight away.  But we make it for lunches (I used to take it to work).

If you’ve used half the chicken thighs (say 4) you probably have 5, or maybe 6, portions (you don’t need as much as you think!).  We use soup cups and fill them just over halfway.

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Finally – enjoy 🙂

 

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