Pulled Chicken with Broccoli Puree

Pulled Chicken with Broccoli Puree (Serves 2)

The restaurant was Pizza Hut and I was also a full-time student, but I made my living as a professional cook once upon a time. At Pizza Hut we stocked the salad bar with broccoli florets and had no use for the stalks. One slow night I made a pot of broccoli soup with stalks for a waitress, but most of the time we discarded them. Discarding the stalks has always troubled my frugal soul, but I accepted that florets were the stars of the broccoli world. I’ve experimented with cutting broccoli stalks into coins and stir-frying them like florets, but broccoli coins just aren’t as satisfying as broccoli florets. Broccoli stalks had become second-rate food in my mind until I prepared them as a puree. Steamed broccoli stalk puree rocks! Broccoli puree may not work on the Pizza Hut menu, but broccoli puree is now a star at my house.

Prep and cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredient list:

3 broccoli stalks
Garlic powder
Black pepper

Directions: Bring a few cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add broccoli stalks to a steamer basket or colander over the boiling water, cover with a lid, and let steam for 10 minutes. Transfer the steamed broccoli to a food processor and puree the now tender stalks. Add salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste and run the food processor to blend in the spices. Be generous with the spices as it takes a lot to overwhelm the broccoli.

Note: My wife loved the broccoli puree and she is a picky eater. We finished everything I cooked at one meal, but one of these days I hope to experience leftover broccoli puree.

Pulled Chicken (Serves 4-5)
Prep and Cook Time: 40-60 minutes
Ingredient list:

1 whole young hen (mine are typically 4-5 pounds)
Red chili powder
Coriander powder
Ground cumin
Garlic powder

Directions: Remove chicken from packaging and giblets (package including the heart, liver, and neck) from the body cavity. Rinse and add the whole bird and the giblets to pressure cooker (alternate method noted below). Dust generously with salt, garlic powder, coriander powder, ground cumin, turmeric, and red chili powder. Add enough water to submerge the chicken. In my case that is about 10-12 cups. 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 30 minutes. Turn off heat under pressure cooker, use the slow-release method to bring pressure down, and remove top. Remove chicken from pressure cooker with tongs (because it is hot!) and transfer to a large mixing bowl. If the chicken falls apart, remove the pieces as best you can with tongs and scoop the rest out with a slotted spoon. Leave the broth in the pot while you continue. Use a pair of tongs to separate the chicken from the bones and skin and transfer it to another large bowl. Once you have all the chicken separated, pull the chicken apart with a pair of forks.

Discard the bones and skin. Let the broth cool for 30 minutes to an hour and then transfer to an air-tight container.

Notes: You can boil a whole chicken in a Dutch oven or stock pot for about 50 minutes and get about the same result as pressure cooking a whole bird 30 minutes. I prepare a whole chicken every week now because I can think of so many things to do with pulled chicken and homemade broth.

You can make a tasty chicken broth soup with the whole batch or use it a cup at a time in recipes that need a little chicken flavor and moisture. I discard broth after a week because I am always making new and don’t bother to freeze it like I used to do.

I love my Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Top Pressure Cooker 7.4-Quart that I ordered from Amazon.com (check it out in my “Store.”) 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. Kuhn Rikon is a Swiss company. Pressure cookers are so popular in Switzerland that the average household has three!

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