- Author: Lauria Watts
To Start: I hope this finds you safe, well and (reasonably) happy.
Next: Yes, no posts here for a while . . . This is not because I was sick or without computer access. It was because I was lazy. Stuck at home, trying to be safe, I had many things I should have done: decluttering, house cleaning, deep cleaning, fixing up the yard, throwing out stuff, painting interiors, many things. The fact that I needed to do all of those things meant that they were way down on the list of things I wanted to do. WAY down.
So what did want to do (pretty impulsively)? I canned a whole lotta chicken. Several cases of pints. What can I say, I got all of the chicken on sale! For a time I was a pressure-canning-chicken fool. Home canned chicken is very tasty, but as the chicken is so young the meat comes out of the jars very tender and seems to fall apart if blown on. This is good for burritos or chicken and dumplings but not so good for something that needs to be cooked, like a soup or casserole. All that super-tender chicken falls apart into small shreds. Makes for goopy whatever.
Thank goodness that with all the canned chicken available I have figured out how best to treat it. Here are some tips that I hope will help you:
First, about canning the chicken: Unsalted or salted? I am not really impressed with unsalted chicken. Remember the salt is optional. I find the full measure of salt recommended by the NCHFP too much. Half the amount recommended for the jar size works well for me.
Now for some tips on using your bounty, should you be a pressur-canning-chicken fool too:
Canned no skin, boneless, leg meat/thighs:
Drain the meat well and reserve all the juice and fat from the jar. This liquid makes great chicken broth, has good flavor and pleasantly fills the mouth. Fat can be skimmed if you so desire.
Most easy are recipes for a soup, chile or stew (see below for recipe for stew). For these turn the meat out of the jar and piece by piece separate the chunks, gently. Set the meat aside until the end of your recipe. When the recipe is finished, carefully stir in the chunks of chicken and bring to a hard simmer for 5 minutes or so. Try to avoid stirring too much as the chicken will very easily shred. If you want shreds, stir a lot!
Canned breast meat, no skin:
Again, drain the meat well reserving the juice and fat from the jar. Separate the chunks; these will be much firmer than leg meat chunks. Make your recipe then stir the breast chunks in and simmer 5 minutes before serving. You can stir a dish with chicken breast more as it stays in descrete pieces very well.
The canned breast meat shreds very well, has a solid texture, and good flavor. The juice is fairly richly flavored but will be much lower in fat than the dark.
My current favorite dish is to make chicken salad with the home canned breast meat. It makes a most excellent sandwich.
Make sure to reserve (and refrigerate) the jar juice in any case. Make plans to use it in a couple of days. If you cannot use it in a day or two freeze it for future use in a sauce, gravy, stew.
Well, I gotta go now. My Aunt from Chicago just sent me some chocolate cover toffee that is screamin' my name. Remember to check out the recipe below.
Stay safe, be well and be kind to yourself and others.
Chicken stew with Home Canned chicken.
2 -16 oz jars of home canned chicken, drained and chunked, juice reserved, chunks reserved
The reserved chicken juice (measure it and add water to it to make 6 cups)
2 tablespoons butter of oil of your choice
½ small onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, cut into ½ inch by ½ chunks
2 or 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
3 potatos (about 1 lb) peeled and diced
3 whole allspice (optional but accents the chicken nicely)
7 or so whole peppercorns
6 tablespoons all purpose flour (if desired)
In a large deep pan heat butter or oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring constantly, until the onion goes somewhat translucent then add the garlic then cook until the garlic is fragrant. Don't burn either the garlic!
Stir in the celery and carrots, making sure the become coated with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Continue to saute till the celery becomes a brighter green. Turn the heat to very low. Pour in the reserved chicken/water mix and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, whole all spice, and peppercorns and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes barely test done (a sharp knife tip will just begin to pierce a larger potato piece easily).
Fish out the peppercorns and whole allspice. If you wish a thick stew, scoop out ½ cup of the juice into a heat-proof bowl. Add ½ cup water to this. Stir in 6 tablespoons all purpose flour, whisking well to smooth lumps. Stir this mixture into your pot simmer for a minute or so. This amount of flour will give you a lightly thickened liquid.
Turn the heat down very low and carefully stir in your chicken chunks. Bring back to simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
Sample for salt and add to you taste. Serve with a good salad and good bread.
--You can add some canned vegetables if you wish. Well drained canned green beans are good, and you might want to try adding some rinsed and well drained canned white beans as well. Also you might wish to add a cup or so of frozen chopped spinach for some extra color and nutrition; rinse the frozen spinach under cold water and drain well before adding then bring back to the boil for a minute or two.