The ultimate in Jewish cooking – golden chicken soup. After years of aiming for that perfect taste, I finally achieved it in my newest obsession: the Instant Pot. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
The Instant Pot has taken the world by storm. The newest in pressure cooking, the Instant Pot has so many features and uses, it will make an incredible addition to your kitchen if you don’t already have it.
I consider myself to be a good cook. (Don’t worry – it’s not all in my head! My family and friends think so too.) I don’t cook particularly fancy or gourmet (or healthy), though. I cook traditional, delicious food, and a lot of comfort food. The quintessential trait of a Jewish mother.
My personal miracle was that I learned how to cook even though I didn’t do a stitch in the kitchen growing up. And my husband actually liked my food when I first started, um, experimenting.
It frustrated me to no end, however, that I could not figure out chicken soup. Cholent? No problem. Six hour stuffed cabbage? Totally. Any and all other soups? I got this. But chicken soup was slowly becoming the bane of my existence. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get it to taste like my mother’s. And everyone knows, Mama’s chicken soup is the be all and end all.
As I struggled each week to make a delicious, hearty chicken soup, I tried out hundreds of variations. I added a little of this, subtracted a little of that. I even tried making it in different pots. Some weeks were better than others, but I never had a moment of “aaaah” when that first spoonful hit the back of my throat.
When I bought the Instant Pot, my intentions were to streamline my supper process. I was hoping to make more one pot meals, and cook more in the mornings, so that my nights after a full day of work would be a little easier. I never intended to use it for Shabbos cooking. Yet one week, I was looking at it sitting on my counter, and thought, “If I cooked chicken soup in there, I bet it would come out amazing.”
My reasoning was that the pressure in the pot would help the chicken soup cook more evenly and increase the flavor throughout. I totally surprised myself- I was right! The chicken soup was absolutely amazing. It had a rich beautiful color, a heavenly smell, and a taste that blew my mind. It was everything I wanted for Friday night. I knew I had to recreate it! I have been making it every week since. I tweaked a few things, tried it with different variations, but ultimately came back to the original method for the best chicken soup, and my family and I absolutely love it. Add some matzah balls (kneidlach) and crunchy, yellow croutons (mandlen), and your soup course is ready.
Instant Pot Chicken Soup
Servings: 8-10 bowls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1-3 hours
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 whole chicken, cleaned
1 bunch dill, washed and trimmed
2 bay leaves
6-7 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon minced onion
2 large carrots, peeled
1 leek, outer leaves discarded and cleaned
1 parsnip, peeled
1 zucchini, optional
How to make Instant Pot Chicken Soup:
1. Turn on the saute setting on your Instant Pot and pour oil into the bottom of the pot.
2. While the pot heats up, stuff the cleaned chicken cavity with dill, bay leaves, and garlic cloves. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, ginger and minced onion. Rub these spices into the chicken, and under skin.
3. Place the chicken into the pot. While the chicken is heating/sauteing, prepare the vegetables. Peel and slice the carrots into large chunks.
4. Discard the outer leaves of the leek and wash very well. Cut off the top part and the hairy base of the leek and discard.
5. Peel the parsnip, but leave it whole. If using the zucchini, peel it partially, alternating strips of peeled and unpeeled. Cut into 2 to 3 large chunks.
6. Place all vegetables around the chicken in the pot. Add water to cover plus a little more. This amount will vary depending on how big your chicken is and how many vegetables you have. Never fill your pot more than 3/4 full.
7. Turn the saute setting off. Put the cover on and lock into place. Turn on the soup setting, and adjust manually to 85 minutes (high pressure).
8. Allow the pot to come to pressure. This can take some time, depending on the volume of ingredients. When the timer is up, allow the soup to naturally release pressure until the pin in the cover drops down. Allow plenty of time for this.
9. Once your soup is ready, (it will require minimal skimming, if any), transfer the water and vegetables carefully to a pot that can sit on a blech or hot plate.
10. Remove the ingredients from the chicken cavity and discard. Carve up the chicken and discard the bones. Add the sliced chicken back to your soup pot. Serve hot.