Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Request

Think "poached" or "simmered"... never "boiled". Boiled chicken is dry and stringy, responsible for chasing many from a Jewish grandma's table. But properly simmered chicken will burst with juiciness and leave them begging for more. This recipe is using one chicken. Were I to be serious, I'd get out the Dutch oven and at least double it.

Layer split carrots, potatoes, lots of garlic and some celery into your pot; add ground pepper. Use salt, if you must... I do not. I like a simple broth and will season further, according to tomorrow's dinner... you'll see.

With skin and bone... important - herein lies flavor and gelatinous qualities ... place washed chicken, skin side down, onto veggies. Fill with water to about halfway up chicken. Bring to a quick boil and immediately lower to a bare simmer, tilting lid up on a wooden spoon. After about ten minutes, skim. Then, just let 'er simmer for about fifteen more minutes; turn chicken. Give it about another fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on size of pieces. To note: Dark meat really can't be overcooked; so, not to worry if that's all you're using... within reason.

Remove chicken; pour the rest through a strainer, rendering broth; cool and refrigerate liquid (a quart here). You'll later skim the layer of fat that will solidify on top.

First Night: Mash potatoes, carrots and garlic together with a little butter or margarine; season as you wish. Remove skin from chicken to serve. The rendered onions are nice and a little chopped parsley adds color... but trust me, no one will care.

Next Day: Use broth to make chicken soup, adding shredded leftover chicken. Make traditional matzoh balls; or add what you like; i.e., pre-cooked noodles, rice, barley or quinoa. Or, blend with puréed pumpkin or tomatoes for a different soup. Or, use in that favorite recipe. Season whatever however you wish!

Next Day: For the chicken (if you cooked enough!), there are endless possibilities: sandwiches, wraps, chicken salad (I use seasoned yogurt/lemon juice instead of mayo!), pot pies, etc. It's the best kind of chicken to have in the fridge.

As with all my recipes, anything goes. Use whole chickens. Toss in necks and giblets. Skim fat from broth and purée those veggies right back into it, making a thicker soup base. The list goes on. Please share your favorite end result.

Bon Appétit.