back to basics – braised (shredded) chicken

Ever since Abby posted her incredibly unabashed taquito recipe, I’ve been struggling to find time to make shredded chicken so I could either follow suit, or just make some tacos.

And ever since Abby posted the taquitos recipe I’ve been doing a totally unscientific poll about how people make their shredded chicken (and, in fact, I’ve NOT asked Abby how she shreds chicken … Abby, how do you prepare your shredded chicken?)

Some people use just chicken breasts.

Some use chicken on the bone.

Some use it already de-boned.

Some people bake their chicken.

Some fry it.

Some roast.

Some braise.

It’s apparently as personal a choice as what kind of toothpaste you use (we use Nature’s Gate Anise Natural Dentrifice … you?)

Basically, what I’m discovering is there is no really wrong way to shred your chicken.

But in case you don’t yet have a way that you’re committed to, I would suggest you give this braising a go, because the thing about braising (especially when it includes a little apple cider vinegar and garlic and onions and bone broth) is you end up with an incredibly succulent shredded poultry that falls off the bone and makes any recipe that calls for it taste even better …

Sure … it takes two and half hours to cook (it was 30 minutes in the oven when we decided we couldn’t wait last night and ended up ordering Chinese).

But today (regardless of the bloat from the bad food last night), we’re happy to have a vat of shredded chicken that we’ll be able to use in tacos for lunch … chicken salad for dinner … or maybe a pot-pie … or Abby’s taquitos! … the options are endless!

shredded chicken

Here’s how we do it …

INGREDIENTS:

  • about 6 lbs of skinless dark meat chicken (legs and thighs)
  • 1 cup poultry bone broth
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and a rough chop)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (quartered)

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DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

If the chicken you have still has skin, peel the skin, trim the fat and separate the legs and thighs.

IMG_5604 Heat the broth in a large dutch oven on your stove top.  Whisk in the salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar.  Add the onion quarters and garlic. (The onion almost acts as a “stand” upon which you layer the chicken … keeps it out of direct contact with the liquid at first).

Turn off the heat and start stacking your chicken on top of the onion.

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IMG_5639 Once it’s all in, turn the heat back on and bring the liquid to a boil.  Once that happens (which only takes a moment), put the lid on your dish and pop it in the oven.

Let it slow cook for two and half hours.

(About halfway through the process, give the contents of the dutch oven a good toss, rotating the chicken from the bottom to the top and vice versa so it gets a nice even cook.)

Remove it from the oven, take off the lid and let the chicken cool enough that it’s not so hot you can’t touch it.

Use a large fork to remove the chicken from the bones (discarding the bones and the onion)

IMG_5653 And this is what’s left in the pot …

IMG_5652 At this point, drain the liquid and separate the chicken into meal portions (freeze what you don’t need immediately, or just make a plan for a lot of tasty chicken in the next few days).  As of this moment, I’m planning on tacos, taquitos, chicken salad and maybe a pot pie.

Whatever you decide … enjoy it!

How do you shred your chicken?

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