When we registered for a pressure cooker as a wedding gift we primarily intended to use it for canning. As it turns out, we use it much more for stock making than canning. In fact, we've made so much stock in it that the gasket and pressure plug have taken on the smell of glutamate (the amino acid that makes things taste savory - think of the smell of raman). It smelled so good that it was eaten by a squirrel that found it's way into our attic; we had to reorder the part online.
Stocks made in a pressure cooker take a fraction of the time; 45 minutes under pressure compared to hours of slow simmer. They also end up with a richer color and flavor that, while not appropriate for all applications, compliment many of the things I use it for. They do end up a bit more cloudy than simmered stocks but who cares when it is going in a gumbo? If I need a light flavored, low bodied stock I grab a box out of the cupboard.
Some people poach a whole bird but that always seemed to be a bit of a waste. These two guys (to the left) were destined for a tailgate gumbo. Legs, thighs, breast meat, wing drums and flats went back into the fridge; everything else (minus the liver) went in a 450 degree oven until nice and brown. I supplemented it with a few pounds of scrap backs, rib cages and necks from the market. There's enough meat on the scraps to give the final stock a nice "chickeny" flavor and the browning gives it a color and depth.
The only particularly fresh vegetables were the onions and the parsley. Everything else was on it's way out. The carrots and celery were both soft and the leak tops would have gone in the trash otherwise. Everything looses it's structural integrity in the cooker. Carrots that were simply soft going in now fall apart when you try to pick them up; bones are crushed between your fingers with the lightest pinch. The leak tops and parsley make a fairly effective strainer when they go in last.
After straining, chilling and skimming the solid fat off the top I was left with a little over a gallon and a half of stock from this batch. Most of it ended up in the gumbo, a few cups in the squash soup and the rest headed to the freezer for some future fun. Total time, about two and a half hours including bringing the cooker up to pressure and chilling it down. -Oliver