I know, I know, boiled chicken! I must be a brave cook to take on such a challenging topic. Get a pot, drop in a dirty bird (that's what my grandmother called chickens) and boil until done. Pretty easy.
Maybe we can introduce a little more flavor. Maybe we can involve the Aga while others are content to have the simmering kettle in plain sight. Maybe with proper technique we can transform the mundane into the sublime. Holy cow! Those are some lofty prose. Hope I can back them up.
Let's see how it all went down in the Aga Kitchen. Start with the best chicken you can afford. I'm a big fan of a brand called Smart Chicken. Air cooled instead of plunged in a shared water bath.
Here's a shopping list.
- 1 whole quality chicken, resist the urge to buy one cut up for you
- 1/4 of a turnip, you should always have a turnip in the fridge anyways, peeled and cubed
- 4 celery stalks
- 1 leek split and cleaned
- 1 onion
- Simon & Garfunkel herb collection, parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme. See if they come bundled as a poultry blend in the produce section,\
- 4 peppercorns & 2 bay leaf
- sea salt
Now lets cut up the chicken. First thing, rinse it off and pat it dry.
Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion split the breast. Next cut out the back bone by sawing one side then the other. My wife said the picture wasn't very appetizing so sorry no pics of the back bone
Split the leg from the breast following the natural seam. Flip the leg over and look for a line of fat where the drumstick meets the thigh. Seperate the leg at the fat line.
Split the breast into two pieces of roughly equal size. And there you have it, a chicken cut into eight even pieces. This will help all them cook at equal times.
Let's Boil that Chicken
- Start with a large pot, I used an 8 qt stainless stock pot with a lid
- Add the chicken
- Cover the chicken with enough cold water so it's 3 inches over the chicken
- Bring it to a boil, bang the side of the pot occasionally and stir the contents a little. This will allow the impurities to rise up and float on the surface. As they collect on the surface we skim them away. It's Ok if you take a little water away with the scum. It hasn't simmered long enough to hold any flavor.
- After you have skimmed the stock add the veggies, herbs and spices. Don't forget the salt. I used about 1/2 a teaspoon.
- Let this simmer for 30 minutes. When you simmer some bubbles should be breaking the surface on a constant basis. Not rolling bubbles on the entire surface. Aga Tip: Put the stock pot with it's lid on in the Simmer Oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove chicken and strain the rich chicken broth
- Remove the chicken meat once it's cool enough to handle. Discard any bones and skin.
Here is where the fun starts. With the broth you can make soups & stews, the meat can be used for salads, Chinese food, burrito, chicken pot pie (that's what I did) chili etc...
I'll post the pot pie recipe in a few, it was way good.
Cook like you mean it, G