Thursday, February 5, 2009

How To Cook Chicken

The photo on the left is the raw chicken; the one on the right is cooked.

A friend asked me to post this tip. When I need to cook a lot of chicken for a casserole, etc., I use my slow cooker. There are several advantages to this. 1) No chicken foam! 2) The length of time it takes in a slow cooker allows the chicken to absorb the flavor of the liquid I cook it with and gets rid of the chicken taste. 3) If you use bone-in chicken, the meat gets so tender that the bones slide right out. 4) You don't have to thaw the chicken before putting it in the slow cooker. (I discovered this because I always forget to put the meat in the fridge the night before.)

I use this method most often with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but it also works for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts as well as thighs and even whole chickens. If family packs are on sale, I take advantage of the savings and cook a huge pack at once. I tailor the herbs and spices to the dishes the chicken will go in, but for most dishes, a combo of dried tarragon and thyme and salt and pepper works well.

This is the easiest way to shred chicken. Remove the chicken (if necessary, take out the bones first) from the slow cooker with tongs; place hot chicken in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a flat beater. Place a kitchen towel over top of mixer to create a tent. (This prevents shredded chicken confetti from decorating your kitchen. A lesson I learned the hard way.) Turn mixer on the lowest setting for about 1 minute. The chicken will be perfectly shredded. If you beat it too long, it will become mush, so keep an eye on it.

Slow-Cooker Chicken
Salt and pepper
dried tarragon
dried thyme
Orange juice
1/2 cup butter

1. Rinse chicken, and place in slow cooker. (It's okay if pieces overlap.) Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, tarragon, and thyme. Pour orange juice into bottom of slow cooker (1 1/2 to 2 cups, depending on amount of chicken). Place stick of butter on top. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker, and chop or shred the meat, depending on how you plan to use it. Note: You can strain the broth and then freeze it to use in risotto or soups.

1 comment:

Jen B. said...

I speak from personal experience when I say this chicken is super yummy! Seriously, you could eat it by itself (and I did when Paula wasn't looking!!!).