Earlier this week, our Whole9 Envoy Extraordinaire Christie Tracy sent us a note so full of exclamation points, we had to sit right down and read it.  Christie has recently stumbled upon a new kitchen toy that we guarantee will make your meals twice as delicious in half the time – a pressure cooker.  Pressure cooking is a method of cooking in a sealed vessel that does not permit air or liquids to escape below a preset pressure.   The higher temperature causes the food to cook faster; cooking times can typically be achieved in 1/3 of the time of conventional cooking methods.  In addition, as the foods get cooked quickly with very little liquid, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are better preserved than with other cooking methods.  This also helps to intensifies the natural flavors found in fresh foods like meat and vegetables.  Christie writes:

“I’m back in the kitchen with a new toy – a shiny Pressure Cooker!! I’ve had lots of fun experimenting with recipe creations and modifications… after I got over the initial “fear factor” and learned how to work the darn thing.  Now that I know how to use it, I don’t know what I EVER did without it. It cooks sweet potatoes and beets in a quarter of the time that it used to take to cook them in the oven. And it makes even grass-fed stew meat FORK-TENDER – no joke!  I don’t think I’ll ever cook a chicken breast any other way – the chicken I buy here is pretty tender to begin with, but when I cook it in my pressure cooker, I can literally cut it with a fork – no lie!  I thought I’d share two recipes that I cooked last week – they turned out absolutely out-of-this-world amazing.  Even my picky husband (who dislikes all things “Paleo”) asked for seconds on both – and then he even stole the servings I had set aside for myself for lunch the next day!!  Enjoy!”

We’re going to feature Christie’s first recipe here, but you can check out her other amazing Paleo recipe creations and other fun health and fitness musings on her blog.

Steal This Meal:  Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Shallots, Chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded & diced
  • 1/2 cup Imagine brand Organic Chicken or Vegetable Broth (make your own or buy another brand – just be careful of sneaky sugars/soy/gluten/etc.)
  • 1 8-10 oz package mushrooms, sliced
  • 5-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (good sized ones, not midgets – you’ll want leftovers!)
  • 2 Cans Organic Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Tb Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1 Can Pitted Black Olives (I used Whole Foods Brand – just olives, water, salt)
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Red Pepper to taste (I used a healthy 1/2 tsp, but I like spicy!)
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Directions

  • Heat the oil in a 4-quart or larger cooker. Add the shallots and bell pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften slightly, about 2 minutes
  • Stir in the broth and boil for 2-3 minutes. Scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the cooker.
  • Stir in the mushrooms and garlic. Set the chicken on top. Cover the chicken with crushed tomatoes. Do not stir. Plop the tomato paste on top.
  • Lock the lid in place.
  • Over high heat bring to high pressure.
  • Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the lid.
  • Stir in the olives, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

I served mine over a HEAPING serving of shredded cabbage (instead of the traditional noodles), and it was AWESOME!