Rosemary and Garlic Chicken with Brussels Sprouts (Serves 3-4)
Cooking a whole chicken is amazingly easy. Admittedly, my first experience was with the smallest young hen I could find, but prep, cooking, and carving afterward was easy. And whole chickens are cheap, selling for lots less than the sum of their parts. I plan to cook whole chickens regularly from now on. My second bird is already waiting for me in the refrigerator, a Valentine’s gift from my wife. I steamed my first whole chicken in the pressure cooker and then browned it in the oven. While I waited for the chicken to brown, I pressure-cooked Brussels sprouts in just 3 minutes with broth produced by steaming the chicken. I really want you to try this.
Prep and cook time: 50-55 minutes
1 whole young hen (mine was about 2.5 pounds)
1 pound of Brussels sprouts
Extra virgin olive oil
Directions: Mix spices in a small bowl – 1 tablespoon each of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and dried rosemary. Rub a small amount of olive oil on the inside and outside surfaces of the chicken. Use one oily hand to rub the spice mixture around inside the chicken and then rub the rest of the mixture on the outside. Add an additional dusting of spices as needed to the outside, making sure you are generous with the rosemary and garlic powder. Add trivet to bottom of pressure cooker. Add chicken to pressure cooker. Add one cup of water. Lock top on pressure cooker. Increase heat to high. After achieving high pressure, reduce heat to the lowest level consistent with maintaining high pressure. Cook under high pressure for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Turn off heat under pressure cooker, use the quick-release method to bring pressure down, and remove top. Remove chicken from pressure cooker with tongs (because it is hot!) and transfer to a roasting rack in a pan. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes, or until the skin appears golden brown and is beginning to crisp. Meanwhile, rinse Brussels sprouts. Cut away surplus stems, discard loose leaves, and cut large heads into halves. Add Brussels sprouts to pressure cooker. Season with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste. Lock top on pressure cooker. Increase heat to high. After achieving LOW pressure, reduce heat to the lowest level consistent with maintaining low pressure. Cook under low pressure for 3 minutes. Turn off heat, allow pressure to come down naturally, and remove top. Remove chicken from oven. Test meat to make sure it has achieved an internal temperature of at least 170 degrees. In the unlikely event of the meat not being hot enough yet, microwave it for 2 minutes and test again.
Cutting up a whole chicken is much easier than carving a turkey. Grab the part you want and stretch it out. Cut through the joint connecting the desired part to the whole with a knife. Transfer chicken and Brussels sprouts to a plate and enjoy your meal!
Notes: Whole chickens often come with the heart, liver, and gizzard (giblets) tucked inside the body cavity in a plastic bag. The giblets are good for making stock, gravy, and other dishes, but many people just throw them away. My chicken’s body cavity was empty. I guess the butcher kept them to sell separately.
Best practices include 1) allowing the meat to marinade in spices overnight in the refrigerator while enclosed in an air-tight container; 2) allowing the meat to come to room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes before cooking; and 3) allowing the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes after cooking before carving and eating. I ignore best practices when I am in a hurry and have generally been satisfied with the results, but best practices do enhance flavor and moistness.
I love my Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Top Pressure Cooker 7.4-Quart that I ordered from Amazon.com. After reading a bunch of pressure cooker reviews, I decided to spend a little extra to get the one the New York Times described as the Mercedes-Benz of pressure cookers. I’m glad I did. Kuhn Rikon is a Swiss company. Pressure cookers are so popular in Switzerland that the average household has three! I have not purchased a second one yet, but could use one to prepare vegetables separately while longer cooking meat dishes are in their final minutes.
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