Keep raw chicken away from other foods, especially salad greens or any food that will be served raw or cooked only briefly. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands, the countertop, sink, cutting board, and utensils with hot, soapy water after handling raw chicken. Salmonella and other bacteria in poultry can’t penetrate a cut on your hand—they have to be eaten to make you sick. The reason you must wash your hands after touching raw poultry is to avoid spreading any possible contamination to other foods.
Cut away any visible fat on the chicken, but don’t remove the skin before cooking. No significant amount of fat is transferred from the skin to the meat during cooking, and skinning poultry before cooking only leads to drier—not leaner—meat. Remove the skin before eating the chicken, and be sure to remove any visible fat left on the meat.
Marinate chicken pieces in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Chicken can spoil if it sits out even for three hours on a warm day. Don’t use the marinade as a sauce unless you bring it to a rolling boil for several minutes before serving. Better yet, make extra marinade and store it separately until you are ready to serve it.
How to make chicken soup and chicken broth
The start to any chicken soup is chicken broth. Because most canned chicken broths tend to be quite high in sodium (especially monosodium glutamate), it’s always best to make homemade broth; that way you can control the amount of salt you add and can remove fat from the broth after cooking.
To make homemade chicken broth use stewing chickens, chicken backs, or the leftover carcass from a roast chicken. Place the chicken in a large stockpot with yellow onions with the skins on (to add color), celery ribs, carrots, bay leaves, whole peppercorns, thyme, and salt.
Cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that floats to the top, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook for two to three hours, keeping an eye on the water level. Strain the liquid to remove the vegetables, bones, and any meat pieces. Let the broth cool completely and refrigerate or freeze. Remove any fat that congeals at the top.