chicken soup

Recipes for my mother-in-law’s pressure cooker which is how I still think of it although I have owned it for almost 20 years.

My Mother-in-Law is a sweetheart and early in our marriage gave me a pressure cooker. She told me that I could make dinners in no time flat and it would be great. Well, I was a little nervous about the pressure cooker’s potential to explode so I tried only a few things – chicken soup was the best –  45 minutes and you have homemade chicken soup – overnight if you really want to skim the fat – but still. (Basically one chicken cut up or pieces you like best – thighs make it richer, veggies of choice – carrots, celery and parsnips, garlic and onion if you like – don’t salt it until it is done cooking). So for years that is all I used it for and I still don’t have a decent pressure cooker cookbook but last week I thought…”Hmmm, I don’t really want to cook…it is hot and I am tired…What can I make with minimal effort that my whole family will eat?” of course the answer – boringly – was chicken. What to do? I bought breasts and thighs and some Theo’s Steakhouse Marinade at Whole Foods and I dumped it all into the mighty pressure cooker. Okay, I filled the empty marinade bottle halfway with water to get the rest out and to cover the chicken with liquid. I secured the cover and turned the heat up. I guessed it would be done in about 25-30 minutes and it was just as I wanted it – like pulled chicken from a Barbeque place. I served it on potato rolls (also Whole Foods) and some salad and brown rice and corn on the cob.


I am baking today which means I can’t write about it now or I will mess it up – chocolate cinnamon cookies and a strawberry pie (we went to a strawberry festival yesterday at Verrill Farm in Concord) and I am also making a salad for a friend with our farm share bounty – red and green lettuce, arugula, radishes, spinach and scallions.

Matzo Ball Soup

Chicken Soup


  • 1 soup chicken (4-5 lbs) cut in to quarters
  • 31/2 quarts of water 2 onions (cut in half)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt 2-3 carrots 3 stalks of celery
  •  1 tablespoon dry dill (0r 2 sprigs of fresh dill)
  • 3-4 sprigs of parsley Clean chicken. Rinse in water and salt.

Combine with 3 quarts of water and onions in large stock pot. Bring to a boil,cook over medium/low heat for about 1 1/2 hours. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour more. Let stand, refrigerate overnight.

Next day: Skim off and discard chicken fat. Heat over low heat until lukewarm. Remove chicken and set aside. Remove remaining ingredients (keeping all broth in the pot) and discard. Stain remaining soup into a smaller pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to heat on medium heat and serve.

Matzo Balls

  • 5 tablespoons (level) of either chicken fat or vegetable oil
  • 5 extra large eggs, beaten

Combine with 5 tablespoons of seltzer water and mix. In a separate bowl, combine the following dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup matzo meal (unsalted and do not get matzo ball mix)
  • 1 level teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper

 Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight (best – if pressed for time, refrigerate for as long as you can) In a large pot add water and salt. Bring to a boil. Make the matzo balls and drop in the boiling water. Cook at full boil for 30-45 minutes. Add to your soup and serve. This is an elegant and lovely soup. I have made this and added noodles and chicken and sliced carrots. The carrots and noodles will cook quickly and the broth is wonderful. The chicken you have already cooked.

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