Writer Fuel

Writing recipes still counts as writing, right?

Sometimes chicken soup for the soul isn’t enough, and we need chicken soup for the body. Or non-chicken nutrifying liquid.

I couldn’t even manage to keep buttered noodles down last night (hopefully just a 24-hour bug — I did get my flu shot!). Though I’m not much of a cook in general, I made soup this morning, because throwing things into a pot seemed like a better option than driving out for a can of greasy yellow water with processed chicken flecks in it. I am not a food blogger and I’m not giving you a convenient recipe format here, but this was easy enough that I could put it together while sipping weak mint tea and generally feeling like crap…and I’ve been experimenting with my Instant Pot enough that I might as well have a place to collect the experiments that have worked.

Here, then, is some very informal, low-effort, Instant Pot (Frozen) Chicken Soup.

(with soft noodles)

one successful chicken soup experiment

* Place 3 frozen chicken thighs (we keep boneless skinless thighs as our go-to frozen chicken. breasts or whatever are fine) in the instant pot with a cup of water. Close. Heat on manual (high pressure) for 10 minutes.
* While chicken is pressurizing, chop up an onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, bust out a bag of frozen veg of your choice, or all of the above.
* When chicken beeps, release pressure and remove chicken from the pot. Turn off the pot. Using hand protection, remove, empty, and rinse the pot insert.
* Put 3 tablespoons of butter, margarine, ghee, oil, or your sauteing product of choice, into the pot. Once it melts, which should happen quickly because the pot will still be toasty, dump in the chopped veg. Hit the Saute button and swish the veg around for about 5 minutes / until soft.
* In between stirring the veg, cut or shred the chicken. Ignore any begging housepets that smell chicken and want to be your new best friend.
* Once vegetables are thoroughly conditioned, turn off the pot. Add 3 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes (or just 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock).
* Dump chicken back in, along with seasonings. These can include salt, pepper, ginger (2 slices or 1 teaspoon), garlic (2 cloves, minced), oregano, rosemary, bay leaf, and/or a dash of cayenne.
* Add 8 ounces of egg noodles or similar pasta type object. Egg noodles come in 12-ounce packages, so this is kind of annoying. Add all 12 if you want, but add another cup of water with that.
* Pro tip: At this point, stirring is in order. If you let the noodles all sit on top of the other ingredients and out of the liquid, they will be unpleasantly crunchy in the finished product. I discover these things so you don’t have to.
* Close the pot up again, and set the release valve back to pressurize. Hit the Soup button and then leeeeeean on the minus button to bring the cook time down from 120 minutes to just 4.
* When the timer beeps, release the pressure. Et voila, it is soup!
(In case your noodles didn’t noodle, submerging the noodles into the broth and cooking for another couple of minutes saved my noodles.)

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