Canning Chicken

First off, if you’re interested in canning, there are lots of web pages that are reputable and go into great detail about canning. It isn’t scary . . if done correctly. I’m not going to go over the canning basics here,

There are several reasons why I can food. Probably the main reason is because it’s so much easier to store and I don’t have to worry about a freezer going out and losing the contents of the freezer. Also, if we move, it’s much easier to transport canned food. But chicken is one of those items that I can because, for most recipes, I like it so much better than frozen. Anything that requires cooked chicken as an ingredient, canned chicken works great. I open the jar, drain the meat from the broth, reserve the broth for another recipe if not needed in the current recipe, then shred the chicken with two forks (or my fingers).

When I’m dealing with raw chicken, I never feel like I have my counters wiped down well enough, or that I’ve scrubbed the sink sufficiently or that I’ve tossed all the towels into the washer that may have raw chicken residue on them. If I spend a day (or two) canning chicken, then I can wipe down the counters, scrub the sink, throw all the towels in the washer and chances are, I’ll hardly have to touch raw chicken again for about a year. Sure, there will be times we’ll want grilled chicken or fried chicken strips but that’s about the only time I need anything other than canned chicken.

Recipes that come to mind where canned chicken works great are enchiladas, tacos, soups, salads. MomFabulous has 50 Recipes with Shredded Chicken.

Chicken can either be raw packed or hot packed. The quickest and easiest method is raw pack. Chicken is simply cut into chunks, placed in jars, a little salt can be added or not, and no liquid is added. During the canning process, liquid cooks out of the chicken and it isn’t bad broth to use, but the chicken isn’t flavored, nor is the broth, as well as it is when hot packed with the seasoned broth.

This is chicken that I raw packed, simply because I was tired and, since it was the last batch, I wasn’t sure how it was all going to fit into the jars/canner. I didn’t want to cook up a bunch of chicken only to find that I ended up with 2 or 3 jars more than would fit into the canner and then I’d have to run the canner for 90 minutes again for just a few jars. With raw pack, I filled the jars as I cut the chicken and anything that was more than the 14 jars that would fit into the canner would have gone into the freezer on that last batch.

This is raw packed chicken. You can see that the liquid may or may not cover all the meat. That’s ok.

Raw Packed Chicken

Raw Packed Chicken 

My preference is hot pack because of the yummy, already seasoned broth.  As with raw pack, I simply cut the chicken into chunks.

Chicken for Canning

Chicken for Canning

For the broth, I use carrots, celery, onions and garlic.

Making Chicken Broth

Making Chicken Broth

To that, I add peppercorns, red pepper flakes and bay leaves. I do not add salt at this point.

Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

And look at that yummy broth I end up with!

Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

For the first batch I canned, I ended up with not a drop of broth left over after adding it to the jars of chicken. For the second batch, because I had less chicken and used the same amount of water, I ended up with 6 quarts of leftover broth. I think I like the broth better than the chicken.

Here’s the chicken canned in the broth. You can see that the broth is rich and will have much more depth of flavor than will the raw packed chicken.

Chicken Canned in Broth

Chicken Canned in Broth

And, here’s the broth with no chicken. I love it when there’s broth left over after filling the chicken jars and I get a few jars of broth to can. This will drastically improve the taste of any recipe that calls for chicken broth. By the way, I do add salt to each jar. I use canning salt instead of table salt, and I use way less salt than you’ll find in most commercial broths.

Broth

Broth

No matter how it was packed, it makes me very happy having lots of canned chicken ready to be used.

Salsa Chicken in the Pressure Cooker

After canning lots of chicken earlier this week, I had one chicken breast that didn’t fit in the jars and wasn’t enough to fill up another jar. Instead of getting out the FoodSaver and vacuum sealing it for the freezer, I decided to use it for dinner. I knew that I had leftover rice in the fridge and had seen a recipe earlier in the day for Salsa Chicken so I decided to make my version of Salsa Chicken but instead of baking it, I would make it in the pressure cooker.

Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken

I love these one pot meals. I asked Vince if he minds the casserole type meals with veggies all mixed into one dish and he said . . it’s pretty much the same as eating it all separately and I said “I love you!”

Salsa Chicken
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
  2. 2 T. taco seasoning mix
  3. 1 cup raw rice
  4. 1-1/4 cup water
  5. 16 oz. salsa, mild or hot (divided)
  6. 1 - 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  7. 1 - 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
  8. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  9. 2 T. oil
  10. Sour Cream for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Season chicken with taco seasoning.
  2. Add oil to pressure cooker and set to "Brown".
  3. Brown chicken well on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. To the pan, add rice, water, 1/2 of the salsa, beans and corn. Stir well.
  5. Place chicken on top. Pour remaining salsa over the top.
  6. Set cooker to high and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool naturally for 15 minutes.
  8. Release pressure and remove lid. Don't be surprised if mixture is a bit soupy. It will thicken up.
  9. Scatter shredded cheese on top.
  10. Replace lid and allow to sit, with pot off, for another 10 - 15 minutes.
  11. Serve with sour cream on top if desired.
Patchwork Times by Judy Laquidara http://www.patchworktimes.com/

Loopy Academy

It seemed like forever for the Loopy Academy announcement to be made but today, it was made! I was pleasantly surprised that the minimum yardage requirements for each project is 225 yards. That’s very do-able, without feeling rushed.

The projects are:

  1. Pillow – something made from Worsted or Bulky weight. I’m going to make Handspun Cushion and use Cascade 220 in the same color (Straw) as the little blanket I finished for the last Camp Loopy project.
  2. A project that has textured stitches in the body. I’m going to make Hinagiku Hat, which was one suggested by the Loopy elves. I’m going to use Shibui Baby Alpaca in the color Green Tea.
  3. A project that has cables. I’m going to make Knotted Pine, another suggestion from the elves. I’m going to use Malabrigo Silky Merino in Azules. I have Azules in another weight yarn to make a sweater so hopefully the colors will be close enough that I can wear them together and have a set that matches.

The knitting can begin as soon as the yarn arrives and has to be completed by December 31, 2015. Gosh, that sounds like a long time from now but it really isn’t! It will be here before we know it and I can’t wait . . cold weather!  :)