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Mar 25, 2013 12:38 PM

Frugal Gourmet boiled chicken--anyone try it? Or should I roast at high heat?

I meant to prepare a chicken today to mainly use for soup and chicken enchiladas. Since it's late in the afternoon, do I forget about it till tomorrow and perhaps cook in the crockpot (won't be home much tomorrow), roast it at high heat, or try Jeff Smith's boiled chicken recipe? If you're unfamiliar with it, it goes like this: bring 8 gallons of water to a boil, put in the chicken, when the water stops boiling, you take the chicken out, bring the water to a boil again and then put the chicken in for one hour. (Lid on, heat off.) Supposed to be perfect.

I already have containers of chicken stock in the freezer, so stock is not a problem.

An additional issue--other than forgetting all about it till now--is that I had asked my husband to purchase a small chicken, but he brought home a large roaster. Would that affect your reply?

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  1. I have used Smith's method for years. Basically the first dip seers the skin. Then it is poached. The chicken is incredibly succulent!

    Two things - test the water level in the sink before you bring it to a boil - it is easy to have it overflow! Secondly, with a large chicken I usually return the water to a boil after the poaching time is up to be sure it is cooked through. Otherwise it is not unusual to have it a little undercooked by the bones.

    This is a method which lends results far greater than you would expect!

    8 Replies
    1. re: meatn3

      Hey, thanks so much for the reassurance--and the tip: I had to take out a quart of water. Glad to know that now instead of later!

      So you're saying to bring it back up to a boil at the end of the hour? Just making sure.

      1. re: Thanks4Food

        I do bring it back to a boil after the hour - I have had the larger chickens too undercooked by the bones otherwise.

        I bring it to a boil and gently simmer for perhaps 10 min. If you are using the meat for a dish which will be cooked then this may not be as important. I usually use this technique when making chicken salad. Just an aside, I used this method with chicken quarters last year and it worked well!

        1. re: meatn3

          Sounds good--thanks!

          And to ItalianNana: my mother and I used to watch the Frugal Gourmet way back and remember Jeff Smith recommending that you just have one big cooking day a week and then create various meals from the basic items you cooked that day. And he specifically suggested preparing 2 chickens with this method and then using the meat for a myriad of uses.

          I've never done it...just sounded like a good plan.

          1. re: Thanks4Food

            That was my understanding too, just from meatn3's post. I am not familiar with the Smith method, but I am very intrigued. We like to have cooked chicken around all the time. This would be a great additional method!

              1. re: meatn3

                Many thanks!

                I'm going to go defrost a chicken! Please report back here after you "boil yer bird."

          2. re: meatn3

            You can't technically sear using water.

            You are blanching the skin using boiling water. People claim that it improves the chicken but I have skipped this step without noticable issues.

          3. It's not boiled chicken (Thank God! you should never boil poultry). It's poached, which is a great technique, particularly when you want to prepare chicken for other uses.

            I love Kafka's high heat roasting method, but I don't think large chickens roast that well, so I'd be inclined to poach it off.

            I'd also salt the water.

            8 gallons seems like a lot of water, though

            1 Reply
            1. re: C. Hamster

              I'm only quoting his recipe, "Boiled Chicken, Chinese Style."

              For others who might try it: my mistake on 8 quarts of water. The recipe says "fill an 8-quart pot two-thirds full..."

            2. great method. I use this when using boneless breasts for chicken salad. Always moist and tender.

              1. If you have a pressure cooker, that's another option.

                In any case, if you want to speed the poaching, or roasting, dismantle the chicken first and cook it in parts.

                2 Replies
                1. re: greygarious

                  I should have done that!

                  As a reply to Italian Nana, it did work, but took an extra 40 minutes--that's the extra 10 minutes Meatn3 suggested (after a 3rd boil) plus another half hour because the leg wiggle didn't produce a good result. This was about a 5 lb roaster, so I'm sure it would have worked fine if my husband could have found a 3 lb chicken.

                  I will definitely "dismantle" next time! Oh, and I didn't like the aroma of a naked bird wafting through the house. I think I'll have to throw an onion and some peppercorns in next time.

                  1. re: Thanks4Food

                    Your are right, the aroma is not the best. Lemon in the water would help!

                2. In Chinese this is known as "bok jit gai". It's usually cut - bones and all - into bite-sized pieces and served with fried salt, a ginger/salt/minced green onion mixture, or plum sauce (to name just a few accompaniments). It can be served warm, room temp, or cold.