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how to sink my chicken
August 14, 2011 4:19 PM   Subscribe

How do I keep a whole chicken submerged while boiling?

I'm making a chicken salad recipe from Jacques Pepin's book and he says to keep the chicken fully submerged in a tall thin pot. Since I don't have one I'm using a regular stockpot but I want to keep it submerged somehow. In the book, he says that Danny Kaye used to stuff the cavity with silverware, but I think that sounds weird. Any suggestions?
posted by hellochula to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you cut the chicken up? Or stuff it with lemons or onions?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:21 PM on August 14, 2011


On Masterchef they put a plate in on top of the chicken.
posted by peppermintfreddo at 4:21 PM on August 14, 2011


Put a colander in the pot curved side down. The holes should allow any boiling bubbles to break without buoying the chicken.
posted by ayc200 at 4:27 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, a flat bottom bowl (safe for that temp) filled with water. The silverware would probably work just fine as well.
posted by tomswift at 4:31 PM on August 14, 2011


I just made chicken salad a couple of hours ago.

First, when you put the chicken in the water, do it at an angle so that there isn't any trapped air in the cavity. That will cut down on the floating a lot. I do it breast-up for the first third of the time (so some of the breast peeks out of the water) and back-up for the last two thirds. Some of the back will poke out, but there's not a lot of meat in the back, so it cooks through just fine in the first third of the time. The white meat doesn't need to cook as long as the dark meat, so it's ok that the breast is out a bit at first. And then every several minutes I'll come by and poke the top of the chicken below the surface of the water.

Mostly, I just don't worry too much about keeping it 100% submerged all of the time. It stays in OK without any fussing, and with the chicken flip partway through, nothing's missing out. Turns out perfectly cooked chicken every time.

Are you putting grapes in your salad? Because you should. It's delicious.
posted by phunniemee at 4:31 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm with cutting it up.
posted by hwestiii at 4:41 PM on August 14, 2011


Ruth Reichl, in her books, sometimes gives cooking advice of the form "Danny Kaye used to...." and it's never steered me wrong yet. Just throw some forks in there. (I mean, they're dishwasher-safe, right? They're not going to dissolve or anything.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:43 PM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


A small heavy pot (smaller than your big stockpot, obviously) sitting on top of the chicken to weigh it down?
posted by Cocodrillo at 5:25 PM on August 14, 2011


In the book, he says that Danny Kaye used to stuff the cavity with silverware, but I think that sounds weird. Any suggestions?

If Jacques Pepin is passing on this advice, I think I'd just follow it on faith.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:31 PM on August 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I put my stainless steel garlic press in the cavity, whenever I boil a whole chicken. Good for the press, and keeps the chicken down, too.
posted by paulsc at 5:43 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a real question - is there some reason cooking it with a lid on won't work? I've never heard of chicken having to be completely submerged to cook properly.

I'd be kind of weirded out by stuffing the cavity with silverware too.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:07 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


a lid from a smaller size pot works, with a rock on top
posted by jannw at 1:36 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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