Real Deli Chicken

Real Deli Chicken

The internet community is amazing, isn't it?  I have been a part of special interest forums (infertility, breastfeeding, homebirth, parenting, Thermomix, Failsafe diet) and I love that there's always someone out there with the information you need.  This recipe is exactly that.  On the 'Beyond Failsafe - Biomedical Treatment for Food Intolerances' facebook group, one person asked for some 'chicken-y school lunch ideas'.  Along came Meredith H. with her very simple answer.  She soaks chicken in brine,  poaches it...  and as easy as that you have a very commercial-tasting 'Deli Chicken' with no cruddy ingredients what-so-ever.  Her kids call it 'white bacon'...  we played around with 'chacon', 'bicken'...  and the winner is Real Deli Chicken.

  • 500+g chicken breast fillets
  • About 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 Litre Cold Water,
  • Dissolve salt in water by stirring well
  • Put in whole chicken breasts, cover and place in fridge
  • Soak for 2-3 hours
  • Pour brine and chicken into large saucepan, bring to gentle boil and cook for about 20 minutes,  until chicken is cooked through
  • Drain and cool chicken,  slice into fine slices, refridgerate or freeze
  • Great in sandwiches, stir fries, with noodles...  
Verdict:  How interesting.  Ms C and Ms D,  Mr frillypants and I all love this.  It's that commercial flavour that we miss (and didn't even realise we missed it!!)  Mr JR, however,  has probably never eaten any commercial food,  certainly no deli meats and he hates it.  Says it's too salty....  complete with screwed up face.  Plahh!

Tweeks:  I wonder how many dishes I can stick this into?

What to do with your Real Deli Chicken:

I asked the peeps at the Failsafe Eating Support Group how they were eating their Real Deli Chicken and I will keep adding to this list.
  • Bicken or white bacon.  Fry, finely sliced, in some oil and butter and used exactly as you would traditional bacon: fried bacon and eggs,  BLT, quiche, carbonara, on meat loaf...
  • Sandwiches,  of course!  Slices with some lettuce and Mighty Mayo
  • Or with some No-Tomato Sauce
  • In pieces in chicken casserole or a soup
  • On Pizza, in chunks
  • In a green or quinoa salad 
  • Fried Rice

Sodium Content:

I have not just trusted my own workings out here...  I had a few facebook friends help me.  Does that fill you with confidence?  ha ha.  I have used the information from THIS page as a guide,  as well as information from THIS page to compare the results. 

Using the recipe above and remembering that none of this is absolute (so many variables)...  here goes.  My friends in the computer tell me that 1/4 cup of salt weighs 80g, making the brine solution 8% salt, and that chicken breast will absorb up to 10% of its weight in brine.  So,  500g of meat can absorb 50g of brine.  8% of 50g is 4g.  4 grams of salt.  Sodium is 40% of salt,  so 40% of 4g is 1.6g of sodium.  For 500g of chicken.  

Now that's a scary number...  if you go around eating 500g of chicken in one day.  So...  you know...  don't!  Don't go eating the whole 500g of brined chicken!  Most labelling in Australia is done on a per 100g basis.  So,  here...  1.6g ÷ 5 = .32g.  Or... 320 milligrams per 100g.  Ahhh,  that sounds a bit better. A bit.

To compare:  I just scoffed a few chips (it's school hols!!) and they are 479mg per 100g.  A commercial muffin is 366mg/100g.  Dry pasta: 831mg/100g.  Commercial chicken nuggets: 625mg/100g.    Margarine 448mg/100g.  Bacon 1546mg/100g.  

Say what now?!?!?!  Well,  there's an important number for this recipe right there.  Bacon.  1546mg.  Woah! 

So.  From this we see...  it's not good to be eating A LOT everyday.   But the serves you would be eating would be more like 10-20g...  so it's all good.  PLUS... on the failsafe diet,  you are not consuming hidden sodium in processed foods...  so again.  It's all good. 

Safety Warning.  Here I was,  joking around about cutting your tongue on tins of Condensed Milk on the Muesli Bars recipe....  and posting a silly warning about always using a spatula... and now I need to do a real warning.  This is one of those things that,  if you watched someone doing it,  you can SEE  what's going to happen...  but when you're doing it yourself,  you know you have it under control and I'm-just-fine-thank-you-very-much!  Here's the thing...  a popular way to make better "white bacon" is to freeze that brined and poached chicken meat and then to slice it very, very finely .  The result really is worth the time taken,  believe  me.  However...  it was NOT worth stitches in the thumb when the frozen chicken breast suddenly rolled and knife came down on the thumb that was supposed to be steadying it!!! Yes....  D'oh!!    I am incredibly lucky that I did no nerve or tendon damage....  and it was only a small cut needing 2 stitches.  But....  OW!!!!  It hurts...  especially while toddler wrangling.  So...  here I am,  telling you....  if you DO want to make white bacon or 'Backen',  then make sure you let the meat thaw a bit and don't be too impatient.   Or,  do the fine slicing before freezing.      End of my warning.


  1. What a great find. I'll have to try it, although Oscar similarly hasn't eaten deli meats ever.

  2. Oh my! I made this last night and my boy has just sat down to a 'bacon' and egg sandwich and is annoyed that there isn't time for him to have more before school.
    This may just be the failsafe diet's redemption. If we can have bacon then everything is going to be alright.

  3. I just used Real Deli Chicken in my new chicken noodle soup recipe (ok, I kind of made it up as I went along) and the kids loved it.

  4. Great recipe! How long does the chicken last once cooked in the fridge?

    1. Hi, I've never tested it, but I would go by my usual 'throw at the end of day 3' rule. However, normally I use this from the freezer anyway. I slice it up and freeze it and then just grab what I need form there. frillypants x

  5. THanks for this, we have been making it for a few months in our house, I personally don't like it much on it's own, but is great on pizzas and sandwiches/rolls with mayo and lettuce. DS2 who has only ever eaten failsafe, will eat a little pouch every day! Can hardly eat enough.
    And I put it on my fake croissants for Christmas breakfast.
    Thank you <3

    1. Well, thanks you Miss Jayne. You are most kind. It's so funny isn't it, how one person can casually mention how they prepare their own deli-style meat and that leads to an avalanche of "you do WHAT? LET ME AT IT!"

  6. I am (newly) moderately intolerant to amines and I was wondering how the 'soak in the fridge for 2 hours' bit would go down with me? Is there an alternative, would it still taste good if it only got left in for a shorter period of time?
    Thanks for all your info it makes being on a super restricted diet way less horrible!

    1. Hi Georgina, it's all a bit of an experiment. :) You could try soaking for an hour and see how you go. Or just cooking it in the brine without the soak. It depends on your individual sensitivity, really. You'd also note that, being so salty, you wouldn't eat very much of this in one serve. So factor that in as well. Perhaps have a go with a small portion first, so you don't waste too much chicken if you find it's too amine-y for you.

      When it comes to the flavour, any time spent in a brine is going to help. The more time, the more 'commercial' the flavour. Good luck!!

      frillypants x

  7. Made this today. It's really good!! Any idea on the salt levels in respect of healthy levels?....

  8. Hi Anonymous, you've inspired me to finally get this worked out and I'm amending the post to include it.

    Thanks so much.

    frillypants x

  9. I was wondering if you ever tried this with pork belly to make an actual bacon style option? Would love to know...

    1. Hi Anon, since pork/bacon is very high in amines, no. Hence the need for 'Real Deli Chicken' to replace those foods we cannot eat. frillypants x


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