Why David Chang Prefers Boiling Chicken Over Roasting It

Boiled chicken can get a bad rap for being a bit anemic compared to the golden, crispy method of roasting chicken. But for David Chang, the head of the Momofuku empire, cooks are missing out on all of the tasty gifts that boiled chicken can give them. As Chang has offered plenty of fabulous bon mots of culinary wisdom, from his one-pot mac and cheese to his versatile Japanese pot recommendation, it's worth hearing him out. 

While roast chicken has its charm, Chang explained in a recent YouTube video that he's all about that incredible homemade broth that comes with a pot of boiled chicken. The adaptability of these two delicious poultry products, gently cooked chicken meat and aromatic stock, far outweighs the one-note power of roasted chicken. With these two in his back pocket, Chang transforms them into a number of classic dishes, from simple chicken and rice to more elaborate chicken pot pie. 

How to make his versatile boiled chicken

As for what to boil your chicken in, Chang endorses everything from chicken stock to mushroom stock, like shiitake, but claims that only lightly seasoned water will work. For his recipe, Chang adds salt and soy sauce to his water before adding the whole chicken and topping it off with a lid. This is an endlessly customizable starting point, as you can season your water with any other favorite herbs or spices you have on hand, like celery salt, ginger, thyme, or onion, and you can use smaller cuts of chicken if you're not cooking for a crowd. Once you get your water up to a boil, a whole chicken will cook for 35 to 40 minutes, with individual cuts boiling for about 20 to 25 minutes. 

At this point, Chang claims you have two incredible edible elements to work with — a fortified chicken broth and delicately simmered chicken meat. A classic avenue to take these two down is chicken and rice or chicken soup, as the broth can either work as the liquid for the rice or the soup base. However, you can also use them for separate purposes, with the chicken stock going to your next cooked grain or soup of choice, and the chicken reserved for salads, enchiladas, casseroles, or any other shredded chicken endeavors. Bonus points if you're meal prepping ahead of time, be sure to refrigerate your boiled chicken in its broth, as that'll help keep it moist.