This Electric Pressure Cooker Chicken Stew is a one pot, 30 minute fragrant and aromatic dish of home cooked comfort food goodness. With garlic, rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf mixed into a tomato base it is full of flavour with tender melt in your mouth chicken coupled with nutritious pearl barley.
My Pressure Cooker Chicken Stew is a family original recipe and when you eat it, it’s like a giant big hug. Its welcoming, hearty, easy to make and will keep you full – no after dinner snacks required.
One of my favourite things to make as the weather starts to cool down here in Australia is rich meat dishes covered in sauciness. The temperature has only dropped a little, and we are only six weeks into Autumn, but it’s definitely cool enough to eat and enjoy a big bowl of chicken stew.
What makes this stew a little different, apart from it using chicken instead of beef or lamb, is that I add pearl barley to the pressure cooker along with all the other ingredients after browning off the chicken in the inner pot of the Pressure Cooker, and it is amazing.
What is Pearl Barley?
Firstly, barley in its natural state is a grain and it is known for having a chewy texture and nutty flavour - barley is also high in fibre. Secondly, there are two different types of barley. Hulled and pearl barley. I wouldn’t try and cooked with unhulled barley as it is just too tough and hard and well, it just doesn’t taste very nice.
Thankfully we are blessed with the convenience of pearl barley on our supermarket shelves. Pearl barley is barley that has been processed to remove some of the outer layers, making it less tough and chewy and more pleasant to eat.
From a cooking perspective, pearl barley is a grain, similar to rice and when it is added to liquid and heat it expands and softens. Like rice, pearl barley releases starch when it cooks, which makes it perfect for thickening soups and stews.
The addition of pearl barley to this Pressure Cooker Chicken Stew results in a thick, rich, and luscious spoonful of hearty goodness that stays on the spoon and doesn’t slide off as you scoop it out of the bowl and into your mouth!
- Brown the chicken in the inner pot first. This will seal in the flavours and keep the meat tender.
- Be generous with the rosemary and fresh is definitely best. You really want the rosemary to shine through in this dish.
- You could substitute the pearl barley with brown rice, however pearl barley is not hard to find. Usually it is available at the local supermarket. I tend to find it in the aisle with the canned soups, next to the bags of dried lentils.
- If you don’t have frozen mixed veges on hand, use up whatever is leftover in the bottom of your fridge (so long as it isn’t off). Potatoes, zucchini/courgette, capsicum, pumpkin, beans would all work diced up.
How To Make Without a Pressure Cooker
You can still make this recipe on the stove top, baked in the oven, or even using your slow cooker. But a word of warning though, it will definitely take longer to cook if you’re doing it on the stovetop or in the oven.
Stove Top: Use the biggest saucepan you’ve got. After you’ve browned the meat off, add everything to the saucepan and cook (covered with a lid) on medium to low for 60 minutes. Checking every 10 to 15 minutes so it doesn’t dry out. If it is, add a little water.
Oven: Use the biggest oven dish you have with a lid. Brown off the chicken and add the rest of the ingredients and cook (covered with a lid) for 60 minutes on 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.
Slow Cooker: Brown the chicken first, add the rest of the ingredients and set your slow cooker on low for 7 hours.
I used to make this recipe in the oven, but when I got my pressure cooker, it is all I use now for stews and curries because it makes such quick work of it – 30 minutes end to end and the results are always good.
Also lately I’ve been really relying on stews and curries when I come home in the evenings from gym or from a yoga class, especially when my husband is working away and it’s just me. Often times I’ve premade a stew or some kind of curry on a Sunday afternoon and end up with 4 servings, so I will be eating it all week. But I don’t mind and it is much better than eating processed foods out of a box.
Pressure Cooker Chicken Stew is true comfort food and perfect for when the weather cools, perfect for making on a Sunday afternoon when you’re doing your meal prep for the week, or perfect to whip up mid week when you want something on the table in under 30 minutes.
Electric Pressure Cooker Chicken Stew
- 800 grams/1.7 pounds Chicken Breast - chopped into cubes (roughly 2cm x 2cm)
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion - finely diced
- 3 teaspoons - Garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Fresh rosemary - finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme - finely chopped
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- ½ cup pearl barley - Note: 1
- 1 ½ cup chicken stock/broth
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- 1 cup Frozen diced mixed veges - Note: 2
- In a large mixing bowl, coat the chicken pieces in flour
- And oil to the inner pot of the Pressure Cooker and Press SAUTE/SEAR HIGH TEMP (wait a couple of minutes for it to heat up.
- Shake excess flour off and add chicken pieces to the pot
- Brown Chicken: Press SAUTE/SEAR HIGH TEMP button cook for 5 minutes, keeping the lid OFF.
- Cancel the Saute/Sear setting whilst you add the rest of the ingredients.
- Add onion, garlic, rosemary thyme, bay leaf, barley, chicken stock/broth, tinned chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, and dices mixed veges
- Use a spoon to mix ingredients together.
- Seal the lid on the Pressure Cooker and cook on the MEAT/POULRTY setting for 15 minutes. (Don’t forget to press start on the pressure cooker after selecting the setting and adding the time)
- Once timer has gone off, release pressure valve and remove lid.
- Stew is ready to serve.
- Pearl Barley is available at supermarkets in the soup aisle. I usually find it where the dried lentils are. Store leftover unused barley in an air tight container in the pantry.
- I used a frozen vegetable mix of peas, carrots and corn.
- To Serve: Serve with mashed sweet potato.
- To Store: Store leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container for 2 days. Discard after this time
- To Freeze: Section up into portion sizes, and store in freezer safe containers for upto 6 weeks.
- If stew is not thick enough: make a cornflour slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of cornflour/cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and stirring into the stew.