Published January 1, 2013.
For our pressure-cooker take on classic chicken and rice, we used bone-in chicken breasts rather than boneless for better flavor and meat that stayed moist. Avoiding heavy, greasy rice was the biggest challenge. Browning the breasts before cooking them under pressure allowed us to keep the flavorful fond but render off and discard most of the fat before cooking. We also decreased the liquid in the standard 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice to account for the moisture released by the chicken and carrots that couldn’t evaporate. Stirring the rice made the dish gluey, so we simply fluffed it with a fork when incorporating the peas, lemon juice, and parsley.
1. BUILD FLAVOR: Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in pressure-cooker pot over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown chicken, skin side down, until golden, about 6 minutes; transfer to plate.
2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat left in pot. Add carrots, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth. Using wooden spoon, scrape up all browned bits stuck on bottom of pot and brush any rice off sides of pot. Nestle chicken, skin side up, firmly into rice.
3. HIGH PRESSURE FOR 15 MINUTES: Lock pressure-cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. As soon as pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.
4. QUICK RELEASE PRESSURE: Remove pot from heat. Quick release pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
5. BEFORE SERVING: Transfer chicken to serving dish and tent loosely with aluminum foil while finishing rice. Sprinkle peas, parsley, and lemon juice over rice, cover, and let stand until for 5 minutes. Fluff rice gently with fork and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chicken.
Making Chicken and Rice in a Pressure Cooker
Browning the chicken before cooking it under pressure does two important things. First, it gives the broth a deeper, richer chicken flavor that then gets absorbed by the rice. second, it gives the chicken a little color so that it looks more appealing when served.
Do not rinse the rice before adding it to the pot or else it will stick to the pot’s bottom and may scorch during cooking. Stirring the rice into the pot before adding the broth is also important because the rice gets coated with a thin layer of oil that helps prevent clumping as it cooks.
After adding the broth to the pot, take your time scraping up all the browned bits off the pot’s bottom; if you miss any, the cooked rice might stick during cooking. Also, scrape any grains of rice stuck to the sides of the pot back into the broth to ensure they cook through.
Once you release pressure, be gentle with the rice to ensure it doesn’t turn gummy. Just sprinkle the peas, parsley, and lemon juice over the top of the rice, cover the pot, let the rice steam and the peas cook through off the heat, then gently fluff the flavorings into the cooked rice with a fork.
Can I use boneless breasts?
No, you can’t, because they would cook through long before the rice is done.
Do I need to alter the recipe for a 6-quart electric pressure cooker?
Yes, brown the chicken in 2 batches in step 1, using additional oil as needed. Quick release the pressure immediately after the pressurized cooking time; do not let the cooker switch to the warm setting.