When it comes to chicken, I am firmly in the dark meat camp. Chicken breast are too often dry and rubbery, so I usually avoid the white meat altogether. However, the steam treatment I gave this chicken made it so delicious that I had a difficult time saving the breast for the chicken salad recipe for which I’d prepared it. It was a revelation. The chicken breast has been redeemed! The gentle steaming method reduces the risk of overcooking the chicken, and the foil wrap keeps it super moist. It also helps that it was a Primal Pastures chicken, well-raised by farmers we trust.

If you’re feeling thrifty, you can buy a whole chicken and use the other parts for other things. Ask the butcher to cut the chicken into parts: two breast halves, two wings, two thighs, two drumsticks. If your bird comes with the head and feet, take those home to freeze for future stock making.

I steamed this chicken breast bone-in because I think it tastes better and cooks more evenly. It’s easy to pluck the meat off the bone to use in a pulled chicken salad or enchiladas. Our butchers can make the chicken breasts boneless and skinless, if you prefer, and you can take the bones home for your stock pot. (You can take the skin off easily at home as well. Crisp it in the oven for a salty snack!)


Chicken Breast Steamed with Ginger

Notes: Adapted from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s recipe in Japanese Farm Food. Swap out the ginger for any aromatics you like — garlic, herbs, green onions, etc. The 20 minutes of steaming was perfect for an 8 to 9 ounce chicken breast. 

  • One full chicken breast (two halves), skinless, bone-in or boneless
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine, sake or water with a splash of sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Foil, two 12 inch pieces to make two pouches
  • Pot with steamer basket and lid

Fill a pot with an inch or so of water and place a steamer basket inside (the water should not touch the steamer basket).

Place each chicken breast half on its own piece of foil, in the center.

Drizzle each piece of chicken evenly with the wine, sprinkle with the salt and then rub with the grated ginger.

Make a foil packet by carefully wrapping the long sides of the foil together and folding them over a few times (carefully keep the liquid from spilling out).

Fold up the short sides a few times to seal the packet on both ends.  

Heat the water over medium high heat.

Once the water is boiling, place the packets inside the steamer basket. Cover with the lid and reduce the heat to medium.

Steam the chicken for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow steam die down.

Remove the packets from the steamer and let rest until cool enough to handle.

Pull the chicken off the bone, shred with a fork or slice as desired.