Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Chicken Soup à la Pressure: Reloaded

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Special equipment:
Cutting board, boning knife, chef's knife, measuring cups, measuring spoons, 6- to 6.5-quart stovetop pressure cooker or 8-quart electric multicooker, tongs, wooden spoon, timer, large mixing bowl, colander, fine-mesh sieve, cheesecloth, 2 forks or electric hand mixer, ladle
  1. Park a 6 to 6.5-quart pressure cooker pot on high heat (see Cook's Note). Place the onion, cut-side down, on the bottom of the cooker and sear until well-charred — 5 minutes.
  2. Add the 2 halved carrots, 2 halved celery stalks, leek tops and dried mushrooms to the pot along with the peppercorns and bay leaves. Follow with the chicken legs, thighs, wings, and finally the carcass. Add the water and use tongs or a large spoon to push as much of the chicken under water as possible.
  3. Attach and lock the cooker's lid (according to the manufacturer's instructions, of course) and bring up to pressure over high heat. When the cooker's whistle blows (it's typically annoying and discordant … all the better to get your attention), back off on the heat until the cooker just barely hisses. This means you're maintaining pressure but not just dumping a lot of steam into the room, which would waste moisture, not to mention energy. Cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the cooker from the heat and either vent the pressure by opening the pressure relief valve or simply place the covered vessel in the sink and pour running water over the lid for about a minute. At that point the pressure should have abated and the safety lock on the lid will open.
  5. Strain the broth first through a colander set over a large bowl to remove large solids. Place a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth over the now-empty pressure cooker. Strain the stock a second time through the lined sieve into the cooker. You should have 8 to 9 cups of stock/broth. (It's stock because bones were involved and broth because there was meat as well. So, it's…brock.) At this point you can stop, cool the "brock," and then refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for pretty much forever.
  6. To make the soup, add the shoyu, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the togarashi to the "brock." Taste and add additional togarashi as desired. Add the chicken breasts to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through — 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl using tongs or a slotted spoon.
  7. Add the remaining carrots and the parsnips to the broth and simmer for 3 minutes, then add the remaining celery and leeks. Continue simmering until the vegetables are just tender — 3 to 5 minutes. Kill the heat and season with lemon juice, if desired.
  8. While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken breasts with forks or with a hand mixer on low. (The mixer quickly produces a very fine shred.)
  9. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the chicken, reserved celery leaves, and another grind of pepper.

Cutting Up The Chicken:

  1. Lay the chicken breast-side up and lift one of the wings until the chicken starts to come up off the board. This will help to open the joint connecting the wing to the body of the bird. Cut into the joint with a boning knife or other narrow blade, allowing gravity to open up the joint as you cut through. Repeat with opposite wing.
  2. Turn the bird so that the leg quarters are facing you. Smooth the skin over the breast lobes while pushing down the sides to create a clear crease between the sides of the breasts and the leg quarters. Then slice through the skin on one leg. (I'm right-handed so I usually start with the leg on my left side.) Lift the drumstick, rolling the bird to the side and flex the thigh backwards to pop the joint. Locate the "oyster," the lump of meat just north of the joint. Slice into the bird's back just ahead of the oyster, angling the knife downward, to scoop out the oyster and then move through the joint. Gently slice through the rest of the skin to remove the leg quarter. Repeat with the other leg quarter.
  3. To separate the thigh from the drumstick, simply squeeze the small, unattached end of the drumstick against the opposite end of the thigh. This will place stress on the joint holding the two together. Gently slice through the thin line of connective tissue at this joint and when the knife hits the socket the joint, it will easily separate. Place the leg quarter back on the cutting board and slice through the rest of the joint and meat, separating the two pieces. Repeat with the second leg quarter.
  4. To remove the breasts, turn the remains of the bird so that the neck opening is facing you. Reach into the cavity and feel the outline of the wishbone on either side of the opening. Using just the tip of your knife, cut down each side then reach in and work the bone out. Moving carefully and making short strokes, run the curved part knife along the side of the keel bone, gently pulling the breast lobes away from the rib cage on either side.
  5. At this point you have 8 pieces, not including the carcass itself. I typically half each breast lobe to make them easier to handle and faster to cook. Oh, and don't throw away the carcass. There's still meat on it, not to mention all the connective tissue and bone … valuable stuff.

Cook’s Note

If you'd like to adapt this recipe to work in an electric countertop multicooker, you will want to use one with an 8-quart capacity. Use the quick release to stop cooking under pressure.

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