Having Shredded Chicken on hand is always a wonderful thing for last minute meals. A little planning, ahead of time, can make weeknight meals a breeze. It can be used for so many things – chicken tacos, casseroles, pot pies, soups, stews & chilies, chicken salad, pizza topping, etc.
There are 3 ways you can cook chicken before you prepare it. Oh yea, I only use chicken breast for shredding.
1. You can boil the chicken: Put the chicken in a large pot and cover with water or chicken broth. Add the desired amount of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and cover, simmering on medium low or until chicken if fully cooked. The chicken is done when all juices run clear (internal temperature of 160 degrees on thermometer), and the chicken breast easily tears apart with a fork.
2. You can simmer the chicken: Salt & pepper the chicken. On medium heat in a 12 – inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chicken breast top side down and brown for about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of water or chicken broth and flip the chicken over. Cover and simmer on medium for about 7-10 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Add more water or broth if the liquids evaporate to quickly.
And my FAVORITE…
3. You can use a slow cooker: Place the chicken in a slow cooker and add any seasoning you’d like. My favorites are salt & pepper, garlic powder, and I always add two bay leaves. You DO NOT have to add water. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. These times may vary according to your crock pot.
As you can see the latter of the three would require some planning ahead if you’re planning to use the shredded chicken right away. Methods 1 & 2 can be done right before using the shredded chicken.
Now we’re getting to the FUN part. Take the chicken breast out the pan or crock and put no more than 4 at at time in the bowl of your Kitchen Aid mixer.
Using the paddle attachment, switch the setting to stir and watch the magic begin. This is what it looks like when it’s halfway done…
And this is what it looks like when it’s all done – in LESS than a MINUTE.
Your shredded chicken is ready to use or freeze. Shredded chicken should be stored in an airtight container or Ziplock bag. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you will not be using it in that time frame, freeze the chicken and defrost right before use. Unless you’re using it in soup or stew, in that case it can be added straight to the pot.
If you don’t have a Kitchen Aid mixer you can always shred the chicken by using two forks to pull apart the meat. Do this until the meat is completely torn apart and shredded. This is also where the term “pulled” comes from. I might also mention that I have know of a heavy duty Kitchen Aid hand mixer to do the job quite well. ;) But, any heavy duty mixer would probably do the trick.
More ideas on how to use Shredded Chicken…