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Thread: What's the best way to cook and shred chicken?

  1. #1

    What's the best way to cook and shred chicken?

    I have numerous recipes where shredded chicken breasts are an ingredient. What is the best way to cook the chicken so it shreds easily? Also, do you just shred the chicken with two forks? I will be making enchiladas in the next few days, and I need your advice as to what works to accomplish this feat.

    Thanks.
    The road to someday leads to nowhere.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    I used to boil my chicken for enchiladas but didn't like the fact that they didn't shred well. Now I always use my crock pot. I just put the b/s breasts in with no water and cook on low until done..I just test by my ability to stick a fork into the chicken and it easily shreds. This chicken is delicious and perfect for dishes that call for shredded chicken.

  3. #3
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    Yep. Shred with two forks - it's actually kind of fun!

    I agree that they shred easily after cooking in the crockpot, although I haven't tried them in there just by themselves like that. I've only tried it using that Crockpot Tortilla Soup recipe.

    Good luck!

    Leah
    "With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

  4. #4
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    I usually boil the chicken breasts in water with a bay leaf, onion quarters and a few peppercorns. It does take a bit of work to get it all shredded, but it tastes great. I have never tried cooking chicken breasts in the crockpot, but I will definitely have to try that!
    "Auntie, you are a good cooker." ~ My nephew, age 5

  5. #5
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    I poach the chicken and the breasts seem to end up more moist that way. I get a pan of water to a rolling boil, dump in the chicken, cover, wait a minute and then turn off the heat. The chicken is cooked in 15-20 minutes. I then let it cool and shred it with my hands or two forks.
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  6. #6
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    I like to poach them in the pressure cooker. It takes less than 10 minutes.
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  7. #7
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    Yup, poaching/simmering is best. Meat should never be BOILED -- it toughens the fibers. I always throw in some onion, celery and carrot too if I have it. Gotta have that mirepoix ...

  8. #8
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    Another poacher chiming in! To the poaching liquid, I usually add a few peppercorns, a quartered onion, some celery, maybe a carrot chopped up and if I have it, a bit of white wine.

    Renée
    Happiness is a good piece of chocolate and a good cup of coffee.

  9. #9
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    I'm a roaster. This came from a Cooks Illustrated taste test of chicken for chicken salad. They tested chicken cooked several different ways and found roasting to be the most flavorful.

    Here are the basic directions:

    ROAST CHICKEN BREASTS

    2 large whole bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    salt
    other spices, such as paprika, if desired

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set breasts on foil-lined baking pan. Brush with oil and sprinkle generously with salt (and other spices, if desired). Roast until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes.

    I usually let cool, cut the long pieces in half lengthwise, and shred by hand.

  10. #10
    Thanks for all of the advice. I may have to try it a few different ways. Your suggestions are much appreciated. I'll let you know how things turn out.
    The road to someday leads to nowhere.

  11. #11
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    Another poacher chiming in! To the poaching liquid, I usually add a few peppercorns, a quartered onion, some celery, maybe a carrot chopped up and if I have it, a bit of white wine.

    Renée
    Happiness is a good piece of chocolate and a good cup of coffee.

  12. #12
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    Like schuh, I prefer roasting, because like CI found, I think it's more flavorful. I season boneless chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper (unless I don't want black specks) and roast at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes. I usually slice, or just tear with my (clean!) hands when cooled.
    Kristin

    Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut.

  13. #13
    For some reason this thread and the thought of shredded chicken is making me soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hungry!!

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Jessica
    I poach the chicken and the breasts seem to end up more moist that way. I get a pan of water to a rolling boil, dump in the chicken, cover, wait a minute and then turn off the heat. The chicken is cooked in 15-20 minutes. I then let it cool and shred it with my hands or two forks.
    I too poach the breasts then shred them with the plastic blade of the Cuisinart food processor, using short on/off burts.Works great if you don't overprocess them.

    pj

  15. #15
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    Barefoot Contessa recommends roasting the chicken for her recipes.

    Lisa

  16. #16
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    If I'm making quesadillas, I like to put boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my crock pot with a jar of salsa. The chicken shreds wonderfully, and has a great flavor. I haven't tried poaching chicken, but will give it a try soon!

    Thanks for all the great tips and ideas. I learn so much from all of you

    Ellen

  17. #17
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    I guess when I said boil, I should have said simmer. I got the method from CL's Enchiladas de Pollo recipe. The chicken is simmered for 45 minutes. I have never tried poaching chicken and I wonder what the difference in tenderness and flavour would be between the two methods? Has anyone compared?
    "Auntie, you are a good cooker." ~ My nephew, age 5

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