Why It Works
- The lack of water in the recipe leads to broth of concentrated chicken and tomato flavors.
- Pressure cooking ensures tender chicken meat that falls off the bone.
This is the first—and probably tastiest—dish that my wife ever taught me how to cook from her home in Bogotá, high in the mountains of Colombia. The capital city of 10 million people sits in a valley at over 8,000 feet above sea level, which means that the pressure cooker is a staple in pretty much every kitchen. Not only does it make it possible to cook beans (at that altitude it can take hours and hours of cooking at a full boil to get them to soften properly; a pressure cooker reduces this time to about an hour), it also helps to produce the rib-sticking soups and stews that form the backbone of mountain cuisine.
This one is about as simple as they come, combining just five ingredients: chicken (I use legs and thighs, though you can use a whole chicken cut into pieces), potatoes (russets work well, as do Yukon Golds), fresh tomatoes, onion, and a bay leaf.
No stock, no water, no nothing except a bit of salt and pepper. Everything gets tossed raw into the pressure cooker, the lid gets snapped on, and then the lot gets cooked at high pressure for half an hour.
What emerges is nothing short of miraculous. As there's no added liquid, all the soupy broth you'll find in the pot is taken directly from the tomatoes, potatoes, onion, and chicken, giving it an intense flavor. Without even reducing it, it has that rich, sticky-lip-inducing quality that you get from the finest demi-glace. You'll want to drink it all with a spoon (or directly out of the pot) before you even get to the other ingredients.
Over the course of its brief, high temperature, high pressure cook time, the tomatoes and onions will have nearly completely broken down, melting into the stew. Meanwhile, the potatoes get infused all the way to their core with flavorful chicken juice. They're arguably better than the chicken itself, which comes out buttery and tender, literally falling off the bone at the slightest touch. It's pretty easily alterable to suit your own taste. Prefer yuca to potato? Go ahead. Like the flavor of cilantro or parsley? Stir some in at the end. Olives, capers, orange zest? Be my guest. The basic technique is the same.
Fans of crisp skin won't get any of that here, but truth be told, I'm willing to give up some skin for the ridiculously tender meat. It's that good.
Oh, and did I mention that the whole dish takes one pot, no bowls, no measuring, and only five ingredients? I did? Well let me reiterate: One pot. No measuring. Five ingredients. 30 minutes. How's that for easy?
4 large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
1 large onion, sliced into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 medium beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
1 whole chicken, back removed, cut into 8 pieces (about 4 pounds), or 4 whole chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine potatoes, onion, tomatoes, chicken pieces, bay leaves, and a large pinch of salt in a pressure cooker. Toss with hands to combine. Seal lid and cook under high pressure for 25 minutes. Release pressure, remove lid, season to taste, and serve.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||8%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||9%|
|Total Carbohydrate 71g||26%|
|Dietary Fiber 9g||30%|
|Total Sugars 8g|
|Vitamin C 47mg||236%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|