Ooof. This is the part of Whole 30 in which I just want to take a LOOOOOONG nap. I think my intense holiday cookies-for-breakfast habit is making this first week tougher than any of my other rounds. I haven't wanted to cheat...actually, I totally wanted a slice of pizza yesterday. Nevermind. So, I've wanted to cheat, but haven't because I have the vision of how great I'll feel in a few days dancing in my head.
What helps during these tired, saggy days at the beginning is having a few really fast recipes ready. We also bought a pressure cooker last year, which has been incredible during Whole 30 because we don't even have to "set it and forget it." We can literally forget it and then do it when we panic that there's nothing for dinner. Not that we ever do that.
This recipe is based on a classic from Gourmet that I found via Smitten Kitchen. We've made the original and it is stupidly easy and GLORIOUS. But it requires a few hours of cooking time and I lack the mental energy for that at the moment. Also, we OD'd on red meat at the end of the year, so we decided to try this with a whole chicken in the pressure cooker. You could definitely make this with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination of both, but I wouldn't do boneless, skinless anything because the fat from the skin and bones is what gives the sauce its richness. Also, 3-4 lbs of chicken may seem like a lot, but the chicken, like the meat in the original recipe, is slightly more delicious the next day. I do recommend straining the fat after cooking because there's quite a bit of it. Also, don't skimp on the garlic. You may balk at the idea of feeding a head of garlic to a toddler, but leaving the skin means that the cloves get all mellow and buttery without disintegrating in the sauce and making the whole thing taste overwhelmingly garlicky.
We served this with some smashed potatoes that we just chopped, placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and microwaved for 8 minutes until fork tender and then smashed with a few Tbsp of clarified butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.
We bought our chicken pre-cut at the grocery store, but you could get your butcher to cut a whole chicken for you or do it yourself at home.
Pressure cooked chicken with garlic and tomatoes
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, about 4 lbs
1 box/large can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, about 28 oz
1 head of garlic
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the pressure cooker, largest pieces on the bottom. Take apart the bulb of garlic and remove only the flaky outer skin that comes off easily, leaving on the layer of skin around each clove. Add the garlic to the pressure cooker and space out the cloves to avoid any clumps of garlic. Pour the tomatoes over the chicken and garlic and close the pressure cooker. Set to high pressure and poultry, or 15 minutes. Cook. Let the pressure release on its own once cooking is over.
To crisp the chicken skin slightly, place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until you’ve reached your desired crispness. The skin won’t get CRISPY since the chicken is already cooked, but it will firm up a bit. If you plan to remove the skin, skip this step and eat immediately.
Yield: 2 hearty meals for a family of 2 adults and a toddler, plus extra sauce to strain and use in other recipes, if desired.