Why Chicken Soup Isn’t Made By Simply Boiling A Whole Chicken

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While it might seem like you could simply toss a whole chicken into a pot of simmering water with veggies and have it dissolve into a soup after a while, the honest-to-goodness truth is that you have to finesse a whole chicken a bit to turn it into a rich and delicious soup.

First, it’s important to understand that different parts of the chicken cook for different amounts of time. So if you want all the meat to be tender, then you need to know your chicken cooking basics. According to the Chicken Farmers of Canada, different parts of the chicken cook at different times. Boneless chicken breasts roast between 35 and 45 minutes to come up to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, while bone-in chicken legs roast for about 40 to 55 minutes to come up to temperature. 

In fact, Chatelaine notes that this is because of fat content and density. However, the breast muscle fibers are far more delicate than that of the legs, so if you’re simmering a chicken long enough to cook the legs, the breasts will have overcooked and dried out (per Bon Appetit). By the same token, if you cook the breasts to perfection than the legs will be undercooked. Keep in mind, it’s never a good idea to eat undercooked chicken, as you risk food-borne illness, so what’s a soup cook to do?

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