Cooked chicken and chicken stock are useful in so many recipes. I like to cook a batch of chicken and make stock at the same time. Either can be frozen and pulled out when you need them. You can use chicken breasts for this, but chicken thighs are both flavorful and economical.
One way I like to use cooked chicken is to make chicken salad. It makes a great high protein lunch or snack. It can be put on a green salad, bread, or crackers, or eaten with chips. I also like using chicken in casseroles. Here are a few that use cooked chicken.
- 5 – 6 lbs. chicken thighs with skin and bones
- 1 medium onion, thickly sliced
- 1 large carrot, cut in 1 inch chunks
- 1 stalk celery with leaves, cut in 1 inch chunks
- Place all ingredients in a large pot and cover with water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and boil slowly for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave the lid on, and let sit another 20 – 30 minutes. Check the chicken with an instant read thermometer. It should reach 180°.
- Remove the chicken pieces to a plate to cool, then skin and debone them. Chop or shred the chicken and store in the refrigerator or freezer. (Chicken can easily be shredded in your KitchenAid stand mixer.)
- Strain the broth to remove the vegetables. Cool and pour into glass jars and refrigerate. The fat can easily be removed after it has chilled.
- Once chilled, you can measure and pour into zip top freezer bags. If you lay these flat in your freezer, they will thaw in cold water much more quickly than if you put them in a jar. I like to freeze 2 cup portions. Don’t forget to label the bags!
- Makes approximately 2 quarts stock.