Giving the Pressure Cooker a Workout

Many years ago, before we were married, my husband gave me a pressure cooker for Christmas. Knowing how much I love to cook, and also knowing that I already had a ton of gadgets in my kitchen, he enlisted the help of one sneaky mutual friend to find out what item I really wanted but didn’t have. It was one if the best Christmas gifts ever! I used it a lot at first, but then it sort of ended up being relegated to things like making beans when I had forgotten to soak them the night before. 

Fast forward to a time when I now have lots of extra time to cook wonderful dishes, and I’m suddenly finding myself turning to a faster way of doing things. But I don’t like the pressure cooker only because it’s fast. It also gives you a super flavorful end result. And in a lot of cases, you can just throw stuff in without much prep at all and have dinner ready in no time.

I got a lot of inspiration from Serious Eats. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching recipes and techniques, and J. Kenji Lopez-Alt comes up time after time. I find myself spending hours reading articles on that site. Fantastic! In particular, there are a few chicken dishes that I’ve been playing with. The other night I made his Chicken and Chickpea Masala, which was fantastic! Looking forward to experimenting with that one some more and taking it in a Mexican or Italian direction. But tonight, I tried his Spanish version, Chicken with Chickpeas, Tomato, and Chorizo. Good, but will do a little tweaking next time. Also will use a different brand of chorizo. All I could find today was a brand I hadn’t heard of. Worth it to take the time to make a trip to The Spanish Table in Mill Valley to pick up some Chorizo Bilbao. Better flavor, in my opinion. Anyway, served with rice and was quite tasty. I did use less liquid than the recipe called for, after reading some reviews. Next time, I will use even less, or plan on reducing the sauce more after cooking, as it was still a little too think for my liking. I also might sear the chicken first for a little extra flavor in the skin, or I might take it off before cooking. As it was, I left the skin on to give the dish flavor while cooking, but didn’t eat since it’s not too appetizing to me cooked that way.

Enough talk, here’s the recipe, with my adaptations:


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 8 ounces Spanish-style chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (next time I think I’ll use dried chickpeas – trying to use fewer canned products and I think they would work just fine)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted.
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces (I cut up into drumsticks, thighs, and cut each breast in half)
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock (I used 1. Might use even less next time – the chicken releases a lot of liquid)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, stirring, until just starting to crisp around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add paprika, chickpeas, tomatoes, chicken pieces, and broth. Season gently with salt and pepper. (Worried about scorching from the tomatoes, I added them last on top of the chicken pieces. I also salted the chicken before adding.)

Seal pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook for 15 minutes. Cool pressure cooker under a cold running tap (if using an electric cooker, use the quick release valve), and open. Return to high heat and cook, stirring gently, until it achieves a thick, stew-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and serve, drizzling with more extra-virgin olive oil at the table.

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