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Simmered Chicken

4 main  
1-1/4 hr  

Many recipes call for "cooked chicken". Simmering is a very easy and convenient way to have tender and tasty cooked chicken. You also end up with some very fine chicken broth. I find the method with 6 cups of water makes particularly good broth. Leg quarters work well also if you don't need wings and breast meat, and it can also be used with skinless boneless chicken meat - particularly with packaged Leg Meat, now economically available (see Note-4).


Chicken (1)
Bay Leaf
Celery Tops
  1. Skin CHICKEN or not, depending on the ethnicity of your recipe. In India, some areas of Southeast Asia and much of Sub-Saharan Africa, skins are not much used. Skinless broth will be thinner in flavor.
  2. Cut Chicken or not depending on your intent (See Photo Gallery). A whole chicken will take about 12 cups of water, parted for simmering will take about 6 cups and parted to serving pieces will take about 4 cups. The more water the less concentrated the finished broth will be.
  3. Place Chicken in a pot - a 5 quart will work fine.
  4. Slice ONION medium, chop CELERY TOPS medium and put both in the pot along with Peppercorns and Bay Leaf.
  5. Add water to cover (see above) and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer until tender (about 40 minutes).
  6. For best results let the chicken cool in the broth. Remove Chicken, drain well and pull the meat from the bones (see Note-2). Do not attempt to slice or cut into cubes until well chilled in the fridge.
  7. Strain the broth, then defat it using your gravy separator. Refrigerate when cool enough - see Note-3 for details.
  1. Chicken:   A 4 pound chicken will yield about 1-1/3 pounds of skinless, boneless meat after simmering (34%) - plus excellent chicken broth. For further details see our Parts & Yields tables.
  2. Bones:   While deboning be sure to eat all the cartilage at the ends of the bones. Some medical researchers have reported it very good for joints and arthritis.
  3. Broth:   If you bring the broth back to a boil after de-fatting, and pour it into clean heat resistant jars (I use 4 cup sauerkraut and pickle jars) while still very hot, and immediately cap them tightly, it'll keep for months in the fridge. For details see our Soup Stock / Broth page.
  4. Leg Meat   This excellent product, made from the tastiest parts of the chicken (legs and thighs), is a recent development. Due to Americans' misguided preference for cardboard like breast meat, huge amounts of legs and thighs were shipped to Russia. Then the Russians developed their own chicken industry and immediately declared American chicken "unsafe". Processors had to find a way to market legs in North America and devleoped a method of deboning whole leg-thigh modules, resulting in a convenient product - just in time, because consumer preference has been turning to darker meat. 4 pounds of leg meat simmered will yield 2 pounds 5 ounces of leg meat (58%).
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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