Many of you who follow me on Instagram know that last winter, we bought a house in Portland, and since then, we’ve been splitting our time between Oregon and the San Francisco Bay Area. For the past few years, our family’s been gradually eating our way through this beautiful city (which is one of the reasons we decided to set down roots in Portland), but now that we’ve established an outpost here, our pace has picked up. With the exception of Henry (who’s stuck telecommuting out of our home office), we’ve been out and about all summer long, exploring the nooks and crannies of our neighborhood, taking long hikes around town (and in the woods), and trekking all over in search of good eats (and the occasional Pokemon). The only problem? When I get home, I’m sweaty and tired, and in no mood to cook.
Thankfully, I’ve got an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. With this indispensable appliance, I can throw in a bunch of seasonal ingredients and presto change-o!: a flavor-packed dinner is ready in no time at all, and my kitchen stays cool. Case in point: Pressure Cooker Summer Italian Chicken—a new recipe I’ve been testing. It’s a quick blast of summer, with juicy cherry tomatoes, fragrant fresh herbs, and buttery, briny green olives.
As always, I highly recommend that you use chicken thighs instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts because they won’t dry out as easily. Plus, chicken thighs simply taste better (see Exhibit A: Cracklin’ Chicken). If you’re going to use bone-in chicken thighs, remove the skins before cooking and increase the cooking time to 15 minutes under high pressure.
I know you’re hot and tired, but peel yourself off the couch (you’re leaving unsightly sweat stains on it anyway) and go throw some ingredients in the pressure cooker!
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (~2.5 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ghee, avocado oil, or olive oil
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
- ½ pound (227 grams) cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups (400 g) cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup (60 g) pitted green olives (I love Castelvetrano olives)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup (14 g) loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup (7 g) loosely packed fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
- Instant Pot electric pressure cooker or stovetop pressure cooker
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Silicone spatula
- Stainless steel scraper
- Immersion blender (optional)
Grab your chicken thighs and sprinkle ¾ teaspoons kosher salt all over them. You can do this part up to two days in advance, and keep the chicken covered in the fridge.
Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot or heat a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat. Add your fat of choice.
When the fat is shimmering, add the onions, carrots, and mushrooms, and a ½ teaspoon salt.
Sauté the vegetables until the softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and tomato paste, and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add the salted chicken, cherry tomatoes and green olives to the pot.
Give it all a good stir.
Turn off the sauté function, and lock the lid on the pressure cooker.
I position my Instant Pot under my stovetop exhaust vent before I program the pressure cooking so that when the chicken’s done and I immediately release the pressure, the vent will suck up all the steam. Your kitchen cabinets will thank you. (Stick a cutting board underneath your cooker if your stovetop grates aren’t even—and remember not to turn on your stove!)
If you’re using an Instant Pot, press the “Manual” button and set the cooking time to 7 minutes for chicken breasts (if your chicken boobs are bigger than 8 ounces each, you can cut them in half or increase the cooking time to 9 minutes) and 10 minutes for thighs. Bone-in thighs will take 15 minutes to cook under high pressure. (For those of you using a stovetop pressure cooker, crank the heat to high to bring the contents to high pressure. Once high pressure is reached, reduce the heat to low, or just enough to maintain high pressure. Set a timer for 6 minutes for breasts and 9 minutes for thighs.)
When the chicken is finished cooking, turn on the stovetop exhaust fan before turning the pressure cooker valve to release the steam.
Remove the lid right away to prevent overcooking. Add the freshly cracked black pepper and adjust the seasoning with additional salt as needed.
If you want a thicker gravy, remove the chicken and blend up the vegetables and cooking liquid with an immersion blender. Personally, I don’t have time for this step. BECAUSE I’M HOT AND TIRED, REMEMBER?
Stir in the fresh herbs, and serve immediately.
Or just eat it as-is if you don’t want to dirty any other pots or pans.
Toss any leftovers (covered, of course) in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Want more pressure cooker recipes? I’ve got ’em all right here!
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my Webby Award-Winning iPhone® and iPad® app, and in my New York Times-bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).