Since I am eating a little bit of meat these days (although mostly fish), I picked up a chicken at Trader Joe’s, and I am cooking it up on this quiet Sunday evening.
People are always impressed when I pull out the homemade stock, but really, it is just a bonus when I make chicken. I like cooking it this way because it is easy and hard to screw up, and then I have chicken broth to freeze and use later for soups, and shredding chicken to use for salads/lunches/whatever throughout the week. If you don’t care about fancy presentation or the skin, this is the way to go. Oh, and it makes the house smell sooo good!
I learned how to do this from Michael Chiarello back when he was on PBS, before he moved to Food Network. I really loved his old show because it was really about easy techniques and not specific recipes. It was a nice balance to America’s Test Kitchen.
Lazy girl’s chicken
In a big dutch oven, add and cover with water:
* 1 whole chicken, rinsed
* a few carrots, chopped coarsely
* a few celery stalks, chopped coarsely
* an onion or two, chopped coarsely
* a few bay leaves
* some salt
Simmer for about an hour. Turn off heat and let chicken sit in the broth for about another hour (keeps the meat from being dry).
For the meat: Remove chicken, cool, and shred meat.
For the broth: Strain the broth and put it in a big bowl in the fridge. The next day or whenever you get a chance, scoop off the hardened fat and the broth is ready to go. I usually freeze some of all of it.