Balsamic Chicken With Pears and Mushrooms

on

Balsamic Chicken With Pears & Mushrooms(IP).jpg

“You should always waste time when you don’t have any. Time is not the boss of you. Rule 408.” — The Doctor

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — John Lennon

Did you ever start looking for something online, only to discover you’re missing an hour (or more) with nothing to show for it? And no time left in your day to find whatever it was you were looking for in the first place? That happens to me a lot when I’m looking for freezer meal recipes. I don’t really consider browsing cooking sites to be wasted time, though, because it’s so much fun! And sometimes something I’ve read percolates into a new idea while I’m sleeping (or even days later), so there’s that. 

A couple of years ago, I started collecting Instant Pot freezer meal recipes. I was getting ready for a simultaneous renovation of my kitchen and my hip and wanted to have a few months’ worth of dinners in my freezer. I knew I’d have limited mobility and no stove, so everything had to be Instant Pot, microwave, or grill. I do love my Instant Pot, but I find that an awful lot of the recipes out there are bland, unhealthy, or both. I didn’t want to fill my freezer with food I wasn’t going to like, so every recipe had to be tested first. Then tweaked and tested again. And, yeah, I kind of ran out of time. I could have skipped the lasagne. You can make a lot of IP freezer meals in the time it takes to make a single batch of lasagne. I could have saved more time by sticking to recipes I already knew. But the IP was new and I was having fun trying new things in it, so I didn’t consider that to be wasted time, either. 

I did manage to fill the freezer with three months’ of dinners but didn’t try out as many new recipes as I’d planned. All this time later, I still haven’t cleared out all the bookmarks! I’d completely forgotten about a recipe from onceamonthmeals.com until our friends gave us some beautiful pears this past Christmas. Oh, they were magnificent! We ate most of them out of hand, they were that good. But once I remembered about this dish, it seemed like the perfect use for a few of the pears. I managed to find the link in my bookmarks, after getting lost following a few tangents, of course. 

If I’m to be completely honest, I had put this recipe toward the bottom of the list initially because I wasn’t at all sure it was interesting enough to bother with. Which is also why I made it first with canned pears. No sense wasting awesome fresh fruit on a mediocre recipe, right? Except it turned out not to be mediocre at all, not even with canned pears. It’s delicious! I was glad I tried it out first, though, because I don’t think the original recipe has enough liquid. Maybe my balsamic vinegar is thicker than what they used, but there just wasn’t enough liquid to get the pot to come to pressure without burning. So the recipe below is my version, with some added chicken broth. I used fresh pears and mushrooms, which kind of defeats the purpose of a freezer meal (I love when they’re “dump & go”). If you’re interested in freezer meal prepping from start to finish, check out the original recipe for instructions on freezing your mushrooms and pears. The day I took the photos, I was using a plain block of frozen chicken, and adding the rest of the ingredients to that. I’ve also made it as a part freezer meal by combining everything but the mushrooms and pears, then freezing that in a block. There’s no reason at all this couldn’t be made on the stovetop, too. Any way you choose to make this, you’re sure to love it!

Ingredients:

0 bcwpm.jpg

1 pound (454 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs

6 oz (180 ml) unsalted, fat-free chicken broth

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¾ teaspoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

½ cup sliced mushrooms (2.5 oz/60 g)

3 large, ripe pears or a 15-oz (25 g) can of pears

Preparation:

1.) Mix together the broth, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a freezer container. Choose something close to the size of the Instant Pot’s inner pot so that you know the frozen block will fit, but wide enough to keep the chicken in as close to a single layer as possible. I use these 64-oz freezer containers I bought from Amazon a couple of years ago. They make good dough rising buckets, too. Amazon doesn’t give me anything for telling you this, even if you buy them. I just like to share what works for me.

1 bcpm.jpg

2.) Add the chicken thighs, spreading them out as well as you can. Cover the container and freeze. 

2 bcpm.jpg

3.) When you’re ready to cook, turn the entire frozen block out into the IP’s inner pot. Press the “Sauté” button, using the “Adjust” button to set it for “normal.” Leaving the lid off, let it cook for 5 minutes. (Reminder: On the sauté function, the timer counts down instead of up. So set another timer for the five minutes.)

 

4.) Turn the pot off. Put the cover on and lock it, then turn the steam vent to “Sealed.” Use either the “Poultry” or “Manual” button to set the pot for 20 minutes at high pressure. 

IP poultry 20

5.) While the chicken cooks, slice the pears and mushrooms. 

 

6.) At the end of the cook time, carefully open the steam vent to release the pressure. Open the lid and scatter the pears and mushrooms over the top. Replace and lock the lid, close the steam vent, and set for 5 minutes at high pressure. 

6 bcpm

7.) At the end of the five minutes, let the pot sit for a 5-minute NPR (natural pressure release), then manually release the remaining pressure and turn the pot off. Remove the lid. Transfer the solids to a serving bowl; keep warm. Press the “Sauté” button, then the “Adjust” button to highlight “more.” Let the sauce cook, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness is reached. Pour over chicken mixture to serve.

7 bcpm.jpg

bcpm NutritionLabel

Balsamic Chicken With Pears and Mushrooms

Ingredients

1 pound (454 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs

6 oz (180 ml) unsalted, fat-free chicken broth

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¾ teaspoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

½ cup sliced mushrooms (2.5 oz/60 g)

3 large, ripe pears or a 15-oz (25 g) can of pears

Directions

1.) Mix together the broth, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a freezer container. Choose something close to the size of the Instant Pot’s inner pot so that you know the frozen block will fit, but wide enough to keep the chicken in as close to a single layer as possible.

2.) Add the chicken thighs, spreading them out as well as you can. Cover the container and freeze.

3.) When you’re ready to cook, turn the entire frozen block out into the IP’s inner pot. Press the “Sauté” button, using the “Adjust” button to set it for “normal.” Leaving the lid off, let it cook for 5 minutes.

4.) Turn the pot off. Put the cover on and lock it, then turn the steam vent to “Sealed.” Use either the “Poultry” or “Manual” button to set the pot for 20 minutes at high pressure.

5.) While the chicken cooks, slice the pears and mushrooms.

6.) At the end of the cook time, carefully open the steam vent to release the pressure. Open the lid and scatter the pears and mushrooms over the top. Replace and lock the lid, close the steam vent, and set for 5 minutes at high pressure.

7.) At the end of the five minutes, let the pot sit for a 5-minute NPR (natural pressure release), then manually release the remaining pressure and turn the pot off. Remove the lid. Transfer the solids to a serving bowl; keep warm. Press the “Sauté” button, then the “Adjust” button to highlight “more.” Let the sauce cook, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness is reached. Pour over chicken mixture to serve.

Questions? Comments? Funny Remarks? I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.