Boil Frozen Chicken In Tomato Sauce For A Flavor Boost

Every harried cook has encountered this dilemma: You forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer. Time is short; the hunger is upon you. You can't afford to wait for the thaw. Do you dare to cook it directly from frozen? Take a deep breath and be at ease. You can definitely cook your chicken directly from frozen; no need to thaw it. 

There's no health risk involved, only an issue with timing — in general, cooking frozen chicken should increase the overall cook time by 50%. Methods like grilling and pan frying don't work well with this increased time, leading to dry, overdone chicken. That's where boiling comes in. You can gently cook the meat by boiling your frozen chicken without rendering it dry. 

This method also leads to a couple of flavorful opportunities. Cooks in a hurry can infuse their chicken with extra flavor by poaching it in their favorite broth or stock or even with water punctuated with a splash of vinegar. But there's another umami-packed liquid you can use. Enter tomato sauce, the secret to the ultimate chicken dinner shortcut.   

How to make your saucy chicken dinner in a flash

Perhaps you have a surplus of jarred red sauce in the pantry, or you're wondering what to do with some leftover homemade tomato sauce after pizza night. It's time for you to tap into the acidic magic of the tomato-rich sauce. The frozen chicken is the prime blank canvas to absorb all of that delicious flavor.  

First things first: How much sauce do you need to perfectly boil your frozen chicken? You need enough tomato sauce to submerge your chicken completely. A 24-ounce jar of tomato sauce should be about 3 cups, covering two chicken thighs or chicken breasts if you're cooking for two. Opting for two 24-ounce jars is best if you're boiling more than that. You'll want to boil it until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly 30 to 35 minutes. Pair these chicken pieces with the sauce along with a fresh pot of cooked pasta or rice, and bask in the beauty of this fast and delicious meal.  

From there, the options are endless to boost this quick dinner into iconic status. Give it a chicken parmesan twist and add a slice of mozzarella to the still-hot chicken, introducing a cheesy, melty element to your dish. Or toss in some chopped fresh parsley for a touch of herby freshness. This hack is just the beginning of your speedy culinary adventures.