Fast from Frozen: Pressure Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

or it's officially a series folks, and possibly an addiction (don't judge me and my inability to plan ahead, just enjoy the good food)

The original recipe: Pressure Cooker Frozen Chicken in Duck Sauce
The variations: Sesame Chicken & Creamy Garlic Italian Chicken

Well, pressure cooker frozen chicken is officially a weekly meal.  It has replaced our slow cooker meals for a while since I think we were getting a bit burned out on them over the particularly long winter season we had this year.  I had been rotating between BBQ, duck, and sesame sauce since most of the ingredients are pantry essentials or things I tend to keep on hand.  Even though the flavor profiles vary greatly, the sauce is still similar in texture in each and the supplemental veggies/sides are the same.  I decided I wanted a real change, something more drastic, to add to the options on our menu.  I considered a chicken scampi style, and that will probably be next, but I wanted something with a bit more richness this time.  I decided to push my boundaries and try a cream sauce.

I honestly had no idea how this would turn out when I first tried it.  I knew the sauce would thin out from the additional water that was released from the chicken as it cooked, but I was still worried the cream sauce would burn on the bottom.  The result - it had some delicious, almost caramelized spots, but didn't burn.  It was absolutely delicious.  I haven't tried this with frozen chicken breasts yet, and because of my concern over burning I don't want to include a time for them until I do, but I am sure with the right timing it could work too.  This is definitely at the top of our list now.  My husband described it as akin to roast chicken with gravy, and I can't disagree, but I'm not sure that captures it fully.  All I can say is that it is the essence of comfort food for our family.  Adding in the baking potatoes was fantastic and further set it apart from the other recipes, though you may need to salt them a bit when serving to bring out the flavors.

Here's how it went this time around:

Creamy Garlic Italian Chicken

1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp minced garlic
1 ½ tbsp butter
1 ½ tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp dried minced onion
3 small Idaho potatoes
5 boneless thighs, frozen
¼ cup large dice carrots or frozen carrots

Hardware: pressure cooker

1. Wash and then cut the potatoes into quarters.  Heat the chicken stock to a simmer and set aside. 

2. Melt the butter over medium/low heat in the base of the pressure cooker.  Add in the fresh minced garlic and saute, stirring constantly, for 1 min.  Stir in the flour to create a roux (even, golden consistency throughout) and cook stirring constantly for 2 min.  The sauce should be thick and creamy.

3. Add in the chicken stock very gradually, stirring well to combine as you go (this will help prevent lumps later).  Once it is combined, add in the frozen chicken in a single layer.  Spoon some of the sauce over each piece of chicken.  Wedge the potatoes in between the pieces of chicken, they can overlap a bit just try to get at least part of each one in some sauce.

4. Evenly spread the seasoning, salt, and dried minced onion over the top.  Seal the pressure cooker and raise the heat to medium high.  Once high pressure is reached, turn it down to the lowest level where it can maintain that pressure.  Continue to cook for 8 minutes. 

5. Release pressure according to manufacturer guidelines. After the cooker is opened, flip over the chicken and stir the vegetables. Serving suggestions: with buttered noodles, alongside garlic bread, or stir in some extra steamed veggies.  You may want to salt to taste, particularly the potatoes, when serving.

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