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Braised Chicken in Lemon-Basil Sauce

Braised chicken usually requires browning, then cooking for 45 minutes. Amazingly, you don’t need the skin for flavor or color when pressure cooking, and it takes just a fraction of the time. Serve with rice or orzo to soak up the lemony sauce. The directions below are designed for a stovetop pressure cooker; if you are using an electric pressure cooker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken, about 3 1/2 lb., cut into parts and skin removed
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. minced shallots
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 paper-thin lemon slices, seeds removed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise so that all 8 pieces are about the same size; this is important for even cooking. Season the chicken lightly all over with salt.

In a stovetop pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter with the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the chicken, turning with tongs as needed. Transfer to a plate. After removing the final batch, add the shallots to the pot and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and cook for 1 minute, then add the broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon slices. Return the chicken to the pot, stacking the pieces so that the breasts are on top.

Lock the lid into place and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Quick-release the steam. When the pressure valve drops, remove the lid, tilting it away from your face to allow residual steam to escape.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Strain the juices from the pot through a fine-mesh sieve into a fry pan; reserve the lemon slices. Set the pan over high heat and boil the juices until reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes. Cut the remaining 2 Tbs. butter into 4 pieces and add to the pan, swirling the pan until the butter is melted, then remove from the heat. Stir in the basil, adjust the seasoning with salt and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with the reserved lemon slices and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from The Pressure Cooker Cookbook, by Tori Ritchie (Weldon Owen, 2012).