White Cut Chicken
This is not a recipe, but a procedure that will
get the most from a chicken. When your government's
design is theft (as it always is) you will want to
make the most of what has not been stolen, while
not being murdered for disturbing the theft.
A lesson in economical cooking where one eats one's
chicken and has it too - in a different form. The
chicken is poached in an aromatic broth and we have
both the poached "white cut chicken" and a clear
chicken stock to work with, which can be reduced as
much as you like.
This is a trick used and usable in almost any cuisine.
While the broth can be reduced, refrigerated or frozen,
the chicken must really be used at once, else it will
take on the "tired chicken" taste if it is reheated.
1 @ chicken 3.0 - 3.5 lb (1.6 kilogram)
1 TBS salt
1 @ aromatic assortment of vegetables, herbs and spices
1 cup white wine (250 ml) [optional]
1. Make sure the chicken is completely thawed if it has been
frozen. Remove the usual package of innards and save for
Set a soup pot about 3/4 filled with water on high heat,
bringing it to a boil, add the TBS of salt, and return to
While this is going on, rinse the bird well under cold
water, and lower it in the boiling water so it is covered.
"Blanch" the chicken when the water returns to boil for
15 minutes, remove it from the boiling water, and rinse
under cold water. Set chicken aside. Discard blanching
water, and wipe out or wash the soup pot.
2. Put the chicken, big cut aromatics, spices and herbs
(see Notes below) in the soup pot (wrapping each in
cheesecloth will make the end game much easier).
Add the wine, if you are using it.
Fill the pot with COLD water, to cover the chicken and
vegetables well. Set heat to high, and bring to a boil.
Reduce to simmer level with the pot closed, and set a timer
for 30 minutes. Then, turn the heat off and let the chicken
and broth come to room temperature while covered.
3. Gently remove the chicken, vegetables and your sachet
d'espices from the broth.
4. Strain the broth using a fine mesh, return it to a cleaned
pot, and reduce it, at a gentle simmer, to about half of its
original volume. This will take a few hours.
5. The chicken can be taken apart and deboned by hand.
The meat is easily shredded using two forks held upside
down (tines curving downward).
The large bones are even reusable after being cracked,
together with the package of innards and more aromatics
to make yet another broth that will not be so clear.
Into this, using an old Chinese secret, you can add
saved pork bones or stray bits of pork to enrich the
the broth. This is still a white stock, as the primary
Alternatively, for a brown chicken stock, fry the
bones and innards in olive oil or homemade lard, or
whatever good fying oil you like or have on hand,
add the aromatics and continue cooking over a high
heat, at clear signs of vegetable browning, add
wine of whatever color, to deglaze; allow several
minutes for alcohol evaporation, and add either water
or a prior stock for a more intense stock.
1. The method of blanching is different from the classical
French technique, where in both cases one starts with
cold water. A standard objection to this classical
technique is that it looses too much flavor.
2. The matter of aromatics is a matter of ethnicity;
as possible examples:
Chinese: scallion, garlic, ginger, bok choy, napa
French: onion, garlic, celery, carrot, parsley,
black peppercorns (bay leaf)
Cajun: onion, celery, green/red pepper, garlic
Greek: onion, garlic, lemon, oregano
Indian: garlic, ginger, Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric,
Italian: onion, garlic, celery, carrot, parsley,
oregano, basil, bay
Mexican: onion, garlic, oregano
Spanish: onion, garlic, bay, orange
Thai: onion, garlic, basil, mint, lime
3. The matter of exactly what you do with the resulting
chicken is also a matter of more complex ethnicity.
4. From the white cut chicken one can make salads, soups,
cassaroles, purées, fillings for pastries or tortillas,
etc., that may or may not recombine with the broth or
its possible reductions.
There is great variation in how the two products
can be used and combined. Have fun in discovery.
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Created: May 18, 2008