This recipe was developed based on chef Ming Tsai’s verbal description of his favorite way to cook whole chicken, which he says also works with pork butt and duck. The meat quite literally falls off the bone and is incredibly flavorful and tender. While that’s reason enough to make it, the bonus is that you can use the double-chicken stock for pasta, risotto, soups, you name it, and you can make another stock from the bones. The fragrance of the stock itself, from the addition of the garlic and ginger, is intoxicating and makes you want to drink it right from the pot (I may or may not have done this). Use the pulled chicken to top salads, add to the stock with vegetables for a quick soup, mix in frittatas, or make tacos.
As a note: Washing the chicken is entirely your call.
- Salt and pepper the chicken all over and inside the cavity. Set aside at room temperature while you prep the other ingredients.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or other large pot with a tight-fitting lid until shimmering. Add the carrot, celery, and onion with a little salt, stirring frequently, until they start to soften and the onion begins to look translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add a splash of chicken stock, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that might have collected on the bottom of the pan. Then add the chicken and cover with the remaining chicken stock until fully submerged, adding more stock, broth, or water as needed. (If it is not submerged in the pot, then you can turn it over halfway through the simmering process.)
- Cover and raise the heat to bring it to a simmer, then adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer so that little bubbles pop up across the surface of the liquid. Allow to cook until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, keep covered, and allow the residual heat of the chicken stock to cook the chicken until the meat easily falls off the bone, about 1 hour. Resist the urge to open and check it as you don’t want too much heat to escape. Use this time to clean up, listen to a Taste podcast, and/or pour yourself a glass or two of wine.
- Once done, skim any scum that’s collected at the surface. Then place the chicken in a bowl and allow to cool while you put on an apron or clothes you don’t care about getting dirty. Then wash your hands and pick every delicious piece of meat off the bones (you can also use a fork and knife while it’s still hot). Make sure to reserve the stock when cooled as well. You can strain it or leave the vegetables inside, if you’d like.
Yasmin Fahr is a food writer and recipe developer who will likely try to sneak feta and tomatoes into every recipe she can. Maybe avocado, too. Her work has also appeared on Serious Eats and Yahoo! Travel. Follow her on Twitter at @yasminfahr for her latest recipes and articles.