My grandmother was a small German woman born in the 1890s; she never drove a car nor microwaved a meal.
However, she taught me to ferment cabbage into sauerkraut, pickle gherkins and beans, mash freshly harvested potatoes and bake wonderous kuchens and kolaches.
She also boiled her chicken.
Those were the days of innocence and wonder. I remember the beauty of her deep brown eyes. They are mine now – and never questioned the pale boiled bird she served forth.
I eat organic chicken today because it’s a great source of protein with less saturated fat than red meat. Its many beneficial nutrients help build strong bones and muscle – it may even be a cure for the common cold.
Those benefits can fly the coop if we cook them the wrong way. Some common ways include frying or baking your chicken, both of which can end up lowering the nutritional value of the food.
Today I considered my grandmother’s boiled chicken and realized she was on to something. So take the bird out of the frying pan and let it cross the road to a water bath. One that retains nutrients and opens a variety of menu options to feed you for days.
What are the benefits of boiling your bird?
When you boil a chicken, there are no burnt or crispy bits. While you might like the crackle and crunch you get baking or frying; it’s really not good for you. In fact, there are countless pieces of research that show a correlation between eating charred or burnt foods and your risk of cancer increases. You don’t add extra calories to it if you give a cluck about your weight.
If you look at how to make boiled chicken, you tend to simmer it in a broth and then add flavor to it after.
Or, an alternative idea is to cook your chicken using a sous-vide method. Effectively, you’re still boiling the chicken in a little water bath, but it is inside a vacuum-packed plastic bag. This allows the benefits of boiling without nutrient loss – and it’s delicious!
A boiled hen may look pale and flaccid, but she holds many possibilities. Her meat is always succulent and moist. Easily torn into ribbons for enchiladas, salads or simply tossed with buckwheat ramen and organic veggies.
Don’t throw out the bathwater with the hen.
The remaining broth is a precious resource because the bones are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Brewing the connective tissue into bone broth creates a rich base of compounds, including collagen. Cooked collagen makes a natural gelatin that serves to thicken and flavor any dish.
You can eat for days with one boiled chicken.
I usually separate the breast and thigh meat on the first day and nestle it beside short grain brown rice or garlic mashed potatoes.
Once it’s completely cooled, I pick and pluck every morsel from the bones and save it for Chinese chicken salad, Mexican fajitas, or Pakistan curries. Use your imagination, just wing it!
The inside sinews and skin go into a bowl for the dogs to enjoy, supplementing their diet.
Those were the days of innocence, and today the aroma of a good, bathing chicken brings back memories of my grandmothers’ frugal nourishment.
She offered up sensuousness and strength, and when given the opportunity, I took both in hand and ran with it.
Therefore, I boil my chicken today.
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2 thoughts on “My German Grandmother Boiled Her Chicken￼”
I’m shopping for a good stock pot, after which I want to try this recipe. The secret ingredient is prunes!
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