Basic Shredded Chicken

1 whole chicken breast on the bone, skinned and split, or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 pounds
2 1/2 quarts water
1 onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano, or a combination
Salt to taste (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)

Combine the water, the quartered onion and the whole crushed garlic cloves in a 2-quart saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts, and bring back to a simmer. Skim off any foam that rises, and then add the dried herbs. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. (Cut one in half; the meat should not be pink.) Add salt to taste. Allow the chicken to cool in the broth if there is time. Remove the chicken from the broth when cool enough to handle. Remove from the bone and shred, pulling strips of chicken off the top of the breast. Pull with the grain, and the meat comes apart naturally. You should have about 4 cups of shredded chicken. Strain the chicken broth, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, skim off and discard the fat, and freeze the broth in smaller containers.

Yield: About 4 cups shredded chicken.

Advance preparation: The shredded chicken will keep for three days in the refrigerator.

Use in salads.