Steeped Chicken

Makes 3 to 4 cups shredded chicken

Prep and cook time about 30 minutes, plus 20 minutes to cool. You can do this a day ahead and store the chicken covered and chilled. This is a Chinese technique and yields succulent and moist meat. Also works for legs and thighs.

3-4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves or similar quantity of thighs

Soup greens: onion, stalk of celery with leaves

1 whole clove (insert in onion)

6 peppercorns,

2 bay leaves

1 star anise seed

  1. In a 5-quart pot, bring about 3 quarts of water to a boil. If using vegetables and spices, add them to the water before turning on the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the chicken breast halves. You need about 1½ pounds for chicken salad.
  3. Add chicken to the boiling water, cover and return to boil.
  4. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 12 to 18 minutes until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Cut the chicken to test it. If chicken is still pink, return it to the water and let it steep longer. Or, test with an instant thermometer. Chicken breasts are done when the temperature is 160 degrees F.
  5. Remove chicken from water when done and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.

For chicken salad, with your fingers, tear the chicken along the grain into shreds about ½ inch thick.

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