You may not believe this, but until recently I did not own a pressure cooker. I didn’t know much about pressure cookers and I never really saw the need for one. I knew a pressure cooker cooks at a higher temperature in a shorter time, but since I’m mostly interested in cooking at a lower temperature at a longer time (such as sous-vide), that doesn’t seem very appealing to me. After some of my gourmet friends told me that it really worked better for making stock, I decided to buy one. Of course the first thing to try it with was homemade stock. Is a pressure cooker really better for making stock? Time for another side-by-side experiment!
I decided to make a white chicken stock. I used the same ingredients as for brown chicken stock, but instead of browning the chicken and vegetables in the oven first, I blanched the chicken in boiling water. I then discarded that water. The blanching is supposed to improve the flavor of the stock (I haven’t done a side-by-side check of that yet) and it helps to prevent scum (that clearly worked).
I covered both, brought them to a boil, then lowered the heat. I cooked the stock in the pressure cooker for 1.5 hours, and in the regular stock pot for 3 hours. Both needed the same power setting on my induction hub, so the pressure cooked chicken stock required only about half of the power compared to the regular preparation. I allowed the pressure cooker to release the pressure slowly.
The difference between the pressure cooked chicken stock (on the left-hand side) and the regular chicken stock was clear to be seen, but more importantly to be tasted. The pressure cooked chicken stock had a significantly deeper and fuller chicken flavor than the regular chicken stock. This was expected after my friends’ advice, but I had not expected the difference to be so significant. The verdict is clear: from now on I will be making stock in the pressure cooker!