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Me and my wife are starting a business from our home kitchen. Our main dish is roasted chicken thighs with potatoes, and luckly the orders has been growing every week. The problem is, the thighs took more than 1 hour to cook in the oven, this is our main bottleneck.

Is it OK to cook it in a preassure cooker and just finish in the oven with the potatoes?

  • What do you mean by "OK?" Can you cook them that way? Sure. Is it still "roasted chicken thighs?" I would suggest it is not. – moscafj Nov 14 '19 at 17:33
  • How long does the potatoes take to cook compared with the chicken ? – Max Nov 14 '19 at 17:34
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    I am considering a close vote as "unclear". What do you mean by "is it OK"? Note that we can't take subjective questions, in the sense of a poll asking who is for "I would do it" and who says "I wouldn't", you have to tell us what criteria you have for "OK" vs. "not OK". – rumtscho Nov 14 '19 at 17:43
  • If each order takes 1 hour to cook then it's a problem. But why not pre-cook the chicken in the oven before hand then reheat under the broiler before serving? – user3528438 Nov 14 '19 at 20:34
  • I don't understand what you are trying to achieve, the end result of flavor and texture you are looking for. Also, chicken thighs should not take an hour to cook unless you are roasting them at a really low temperature. If you can describe your method in more detail, with temperatures, and the result you want then you'll get answers. – GdD Nov 15 '19 at 9:19
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If by “OK” you mean whether there are food safety issues the answer is no, pressure cookers are safe places to cook chicken.

If by “OK” you mean “will it have the exact same texture and flavor and so forth,” the answer is that pressure cooking is more intimately related to boiling and stewing, and is a fast method of doing those sorts of high-moisture approaches. In the presence of heat and water, a central structural protein in skin and muscle called collagen becomes gelatin; this is why a pot roast left for long enough becomes “fork-tender”, it falls apart without need for a knife. In your pressure cooker, that effect is happening to your meat and chicken skin, and it is irreversible. It is not necessarily a bad effect, maybe you prefer the texture that way—but the texture will very likely be more floppy than your roasted chicken recipe used to be.

There may be some other options; for example one of the reasons you should never cook a steak in the microwave is that it causes these waters to evaporate and these muscle proteins to contract without that slow conversion to gelatin which makes a pot roast bearable. But ironically this may better suit the texture that you are going for; you may get something resembling the right consistency you had by pressure-cooking or parboiling your chicken in stock, par-microwaving it for a little longer, and then finishing it in the oven—maybe. It is also possible that this completely wrecks the delicate balances that made your product what it was; for example oven fries that are parboiled before roasted can have a more chewy texture than the oven-fries you get without parboiling, it's not necessarily a bad effect but it is different. On the extreme other side you could also just sous vide the chicken maybe and then broil it with the potatoes—this takes significantly longer but you haven’t told us why you think an hour is too long to cook the chicken, and it is possible that it frees up some critical resources (such as manpower or the oven) by moving them elsewhere. It may also be possible to simply tightly wrap the pans of chicken in foil to trap the moisture which would have otherwise evaporated from them, and maybe then they cook a little faster in that gentle steam.

All of this is worth a test run; your taste is the best judge. Science is nothing if not the repeated doing of crazy experiments until you figure out something better that works consistently.

Also keep in mind that these slick approaches could maybe halve your cooking time and hence double your throughput, but you can double your throughput in a different way by simply having a second oven. Where I grew up in upstate New York, several firehouses had very long fire pits which they used to mass-produce a local variety of barbecued chicken to raise extra funds, so these sorts of approaches can be scaled way way up, with some imagination.

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