Saturday, November 1, 2008

Chicken and Broth for Pot Pie, Spaghetti, Lasagna, Poppyseed Chicken.... whatever you need cooked chicken for


Basically, take some raw chicken, put it in a pot with your favorite seasonings (celery salt, onion powder, garlic, paprika, pepper, oregano, thyme, rosemary, whatever), boil it for 30 minutes to an hour, let it cool in the water as long as you want to (but less than 3 hours to prevent bacteria growth), and pick it free of bones, fat, skin, and cartiledge. Then use it in a recipe, refrigerate it, or freeze it.
The liquid that's left after you boil a chicken is homemade chicken broth. Drain it, refrigerate or freeze it, and use it in other recipes.

Hmm. The more I typed up there, the more complicated it seems. But really, you can use any part of chicken (except neck and guts) and any seasonings you like. Here are a couple of examples:

For a dish I'm going to serve company or send as a gift I'll use:
1-4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (depending on how much I need for the recipe)
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
1 Tablespoon minced garlic in oil (I keep this store-bought stuff in a jar in the fridge. Don't tell anybody.)
1 Tablespoon celery or onion powder

  1. Put the chicken and spices in a pot.
  2. Cover with about 2 inches of water.
  3. Set it to boil. I let it boil for about an hour.
  4. Then turn off the heat and let it sit in the water for about an hour to absorb the flavors of the spices.
  5. Rinse it off, pick off what little fat there is, and shred the meat into smaller pieces.

Or if I'm doing a chicken casserole for Tuesday night, I might go the more economical route and just boil a whole chicken to include both light and dark meat. Mom turns her nose up at the idea of buying, butchering, or dealing with a whole chicken. I figure it's a money saver, and I'm glad to be familar with what I'm eating.
  1. Be sure to fully thaw the whole chicken either in the refrigerator (slower thaw, more tender meat) or in a sink of moving water (faster thaw, slightly less tender meat).
  2. The gross part: reach into the chicken and be sure to get out all the guts and the neck. If left in, the guts will turn the water brown and might mess with your flavor.
  3. Rinse off the chicken, inside and outside, and repeat steps 1-5 above.
  4. As for picking the chicken, don't be shy. It's dead: it doesn't care. Just jump in there and start pulling off anything that looks like meat.
  5. There are basically 8 parts of a chicken (2 sets of quarters): 2 breasts (white meat), 2 wings (white meat - what you'd get at Buffalo Wild Wings), 2 drumsticks (dark meat), and 2 thighs (dark meat)
  6. Put the meat parts in a clean bowl. Bones and fat go in the trash. You'll be suprised how much meat you can pick off a whole chicken.

Yes, boiled chicken is greasy. Take off your rings before you pick it. But it's a FABULOUS skin moistureizer.



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