Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tastes Like Chicken...For Two Days After (Warning: Non-Vegetarian Post)

Every now and then, my local grocery store has a great sale on whole fryer chickens.  At three or four pounds each, these little guys are great for shredding for sandwiches, soups, salads, etc.

Here's how easy this is...

Lovely raw chicken photo courtesy of the folks at Prevention mag.
This is Chicken in Child Pose Position.  It's important that the dead chicken is calm and relaxed before consumption.

Into a slow-cooker or pot on stove, place the chicken, 4 cups of water, some carrot and celery sticks, a whole onion (chunked up), some salt and pepper, and a couple of bay leaves.  Let the slow-cooker go for a 8-10 hours, or simmer (very low heat, please) a few hours on the stovetop.  Cover the pot so that the water doesn't evaporate.  You'll do something amazing with it later.

Basically, when the chicken falls apart as you're trying to take it out, it's done.  Remove the carcass and all the meat bits, and let it cool.  Then, get your hands right in there and pull it apart.  It's kind of fun, actually.  You'll end up with a couple of pounds of what I call Blank Slate Chicken.  Set it aside for now.

In the crockpot, you'll have some liquid left, along with the aromatics and vegetables and chicken fatty bits.  Strain this all out, and pour into a freezer bag or container.  That, friends, is chicken stock you'll pull out later in the winter for stews, soups, etc.

Back to the shredded chicken.  Possibilities are limitless.  I divided mine in half.  That night we had...

Photo courtesy of Cooking Light.
BBQ chicken sandwiches with coleslaw.  I pretty much ate mine just like this...except without the bun.  The creamy, crunchy coleslaw right on top of the savory, tangy barbequed meat is a combination I really dig, and I don't need bread muddling it up.

There are a million and one barbecue sauce recipes out there, and I actually have one that contains red wine (perhaps for another post).  But, there was a half-bottle of KC Masterpiece in the fridge, and there was no better time than the present to get rid of it.  Into a saucepan on the stove went the sauce and half the shredded chicken...heat on medium until warm.  Eat.



The next day, I had every intention of making Chicken Noodle soup, because 'tis the season.  But, to make the soup, I'd have to make the noodles, and I dunno, I just couldn't muster the energy.  An excellent alternative?  Chicken tortilla soup.

'Preciate the folks at dishmaps.com for this pretty photo.
Soup base first.  Because you know I'm all about that base. About that base.

Ahem.

One onion diced, sauteed with some olive oil in a hot pot.  A three-finger pinch of salt and pepper. Two tablespoons of chicken base. One and a half tablespoons of cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder, each.  Add three tablespoons of tomato paste and stir until a thick paste forms.

Then, get out that amazing chicken stock you made earlier.  Dump in the whole thing.  Heat and taste and correct seasoning as needed (I usually need to add more cumin and salt...but that's my personal taste).  Throw in the chicken and heat soup fully.  Serve with shredded mozzarella, chopped cilantro, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.

Om nom nom nom.

Seriously, though, I do love doing whole chickens in the crockpot.  It's so simple and I get two or three or four, sometimes, meals from it.

Happy New Year!

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