I am a big fan of making chicken stock. If I visit your house and see that you are about to throw away a roast chicken carcass, I will probably ask you if I can take it home with me and I will consider it to be the best ever 'party bag' if you say yes! I have made a lot of chicken stock in my slow cooker over the years but when my slow cooker died and went to slow cooker heaven, I replaced it with an Instant Pot (I chose this one, which, incidentally, can also operate as a slow cooker - don't you love it when that happens?) and we are now slowly getting to know each other.
It turns out that Instant Pot Chicken Stock is even more convenient than its slow cooker cousin and just as delicious. Would you like to know more?
What chicken can I use for stock in my Instant Pot?
I use, almost exclusively, carcasses from roasted chickens (mostly rotisserie chickens or sometimes carcasses stolen from an unsuspecting friend (see above)). I am hardly ever in the mood to make stock immediately, so I stash the carcasses in the freezer until the moment is right. Chickens in Dubai are weirdly small, so I will probably use 2 or 3 carcasses when I make stock. I will stash any new carcasses in the bag in the freezer, making sure that it's cold before adding them. Afterwards, I store the empty bag in the freezer ready for next time. You can also use raw chicken bones if that's what you have to hand.
Can I use a chicken carcass, straight from the freezer?
Yes, you can. The Instant Pot will take a little longer to reach pressure with a frozen carcass but there's definitely no need to defrost the bones first. I tend to roughly break it up as much as I can before I put it in the pot.
Which are the best vegetables to use in the stock?
Onion, carrot and celery are the classics. Make sure that the vegetables are free of dirt but I always leave the skins on for more flavour and colour. If you have them to hand you can also add the stalks of herbs (parsley is particularly good) or some garlic cloves. And of course, there are no rules to say that you have to add any vegetables at all - chicken bones + water is also perfect!
Should I add salt to the stock ingredients?
I tend not to salt my stock, particularly because rotisserie chickens are often well seasoned. I prefer to add the salt when I'm actually using the stock so that I can adjust for whatever other ingredients I'm working with.
So here's how I make my Instant Pot Chicken Stock -
- Add the chicken carcasses and vegetables to the pot and a good grinding of black pepper (or ½ tablespoon whole peppercorns, if you have them). You can really pack them in but be sure to stay below the maximum fill mark.
- Pour cold water over the contents of the pot so that you are just covering the chicken and vegetables (again be careful that you don't exceed the maximum fill mark). The less water you add, the more flavour and body your stock will have.
- Lock the lid in place and make sure the steam release valve is set to SEALING. On my model, there is a SOUP/BROTH button which automatically sets the pot to 30 minutes on High Pressure, but you can also use the MANUAL mode (older models) or just set the time and pressure yourself manually.
- It will take about 15 minutes for the pot to reach pressure (longer if your bones are frozen) and once ready, the display will start to count down the 30 minutes of cooking time.
- When the 30 minutes is up, the pot will switch to 'keep warm' mode. Now press CANCEL and allow the pressure in the pot to reduce naturally - when the silver float valve on the lid has dropped you are safe to carefully open the lid.
- I like to leave my stock to cool with the carcass and vegetables still in it (all in the name of maximum flavour capture!) and then drain the cooled stock through a colander or sieve.
- I leave my stock in a covered bowl in the fridge and then scrape off any solid fat on the surface in the morning.
How do I store my Instant Pot chicken stock?
I freeze most of my stock in plastic bags which I lie flat so that they take up less space. It will keep in the freezer for around 6 months or in the fridge for up to a week.
And here is a bonus piece of advice from me to you ....
When your stock has cooled and you are draining out the bones and vegetables, be sure that you remember to put a large bowl under the sieve! I've been there and done that and there is nothing more FRUSTRATING than seeing that liquid gold running down the plughole. Trust me - it's SO easily done!
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