Sometimes I like taking shortcuts, ok a lot, especially if it ends up with the same result. Sometimes that works and sometimes your disappointed. Like defrosting meat in the microwave, it takes less time than the overnight method in the fridge and it usually works out. Sometimes you get tough tips. Cooking the same meat in the microwave does not work out as well as a shortcut. No browning, rubbery texture, this is not a winning shortcut method. This week I decided to try an experiment on cooking chicken 2 of my favorite short cut ways and comparing the results.
There is always some sort of new trend, or gadget or appliance out in the food world. I don’t immediately jump on the bandwagon, usually, but when the multi-cookers came out I got one. I got the biggest one they had because I do a lot of canning and there is inevitably a couple of jars left after filling my pressure canner. That was the original reason for buying the multi-cooker was to pick up the slack, or make small batches in between mega sessions.
Now I use it for much more, one of my favorite uses is cooking beans, and another is shortening the cooking time on those tough pieces of meat: stew meat, lamb shanks, ribs, etc. It also makes stock in no time at all. Anyway, before I bought my multi-cooker, I cooked my chicken from the frozen state in the oven at 350F for about 30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breast. (Have you seen the size of some of them lately, they look more like a turkey breast… wouldn’t want to meet that chicken in an alley). If you use this method, a meat thermometer is a good way to keep yourself safe.
The results of the test:
Baked Chicken-This method provided some browning, was faster than the multi-cooker and had a firmer texture; it didn’t fall apart when picked up. I would use this method if you are not mixing it with anything else. It would be the star of the show.
Multi-cooker Chicken-This method provided a lot of broth, fall apart soft chicken, and no browning. I would use this method for mixing the cooked chicken in with other foods. For example casseroles, salads, soups, things where there are other foods that can provide texture and or color.
In conclusion, both had excellent flavor and cooked plenty of extra for food prep, but I would use each method in a different situation, depending on the desired result. Sadly, neither was an end-all result.
However, I did use the baked method at work to make a popular soup: Chicken Cheese Tortellini. They do not have a multi-cooker there, only a convection oven.
I got the original recipe from http://www.aspicyperspective.com
As always I made it mine, which I encourage you to do so as well with all of our recipes. A recipe is just a guideline. I do caution you to not change the ratios too much especially with baked goods. I love butter, but too much in a cookie and you have a big puddle.
Here is my version of the recipe:
- 1T Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, small diced
- 1 Pepper of your choice, I used the small multi-colored ones, so I used about 4 mini peppers.
- 2 C Carrots, diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1.25 Lbs Boneless chicken breasts, cooked and large diced
- 8 C Chicken stock
- 1 Pkg of Cheese Tortellini, You choose how many you want in your soup, this is the star of the soup, and if you make too many you have lunch just waiting to happen.
- .5 C Heavy Cream
1 sm box frozen Chopped Spinach, add as much or as little as you like or even substitute kale or broccoli or asparagus.
- .25 C Grated Parmesan
- 1T dried Parsley
- 1.5tsp dried Thyme
- .5 tsp crushed red pepper (another opportunity to improvise)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Here are the directions:
- Cook chicken by chosen method. Bake, Saute’, or multi-cooker.
- Sweat onions, carrots, and peppers in the olive oil, just till tender.
- Meanwhile, cook tortellini by package directions, it doesn’t take long. Do not overcook or you will have mushy pasta, and the filling tends to fall out.
- Bring all of the ingredients to a boil except the heavy cream and pasta in a good-sized soup pot.
- Add tortellini, the heavy cream and grated parmesan, bring back to just before a boil and it is ready to serve.
This soup is great on its own but loves to be served with chewy sourdough bread for dipping.
Thank you for stopping by our blog if you have any shortcuts that you like to use, leave a comment we would love to hear from you.
I’m a wife, mother, pastry chef and amatuer gardner. I travel as much as possible, can what I grow, and taste as many new things as possible.