I love recipes that have an interesting history and I'm glad to share this one with you. The main ingredient is a nice fat chicken.
When I make press chicken for a large group (which I usually do) I like to buy packages of breasts and thighs. A whole chicken works nicely for a family. I like the mixture of light and dark meat so that the end product is nice and moist with good flavor. Also the meat should have nice yellow skin and some fat (it makes better broth).
Before I cook the meat I like to soak it in salt water. This is something that my mom did whenever she fixed chicken she bought from the store; mom said it cleans the meat. Rinse the chicken and place it in a stock pot with enough water to almost cover the meat. Add a large pinch of salt to the pot. Slow boil the chicken for around three hours or until the meat is falling from the bone. Remove the meat from the broth to a platter to cool. Strain the broth and save; keep refrigerated until ready to use (never store broth in a metal container). After the meat has cooled separate it from the skin and bones. Keep the chicken refrigerated until the broth has completely cool and any fat is congealed. Remove and discard the fat from the broth.
I use my grandmother's meat grinder to grind the chicken. Meat grinders come in all makes and models now, but the one I use is like the one mother used. It clamps to the tabletop or counter and has three different blades: course, medium and fine. I always use the medium blade to get the same consistency my mother made. Any meat grinder will do but you may not get the consistency that I do. While grinding the meat I usually add saltines a few at a time to move the meat through grinder and saltines also act as a binder when the broth is added. While grinding the meat heat the broth, for a whole chicken you should need between 1 ½ to 3 cups of broth.
Place ground chicken in a large bowl and slowly add the broth a little at a time. Mix until it is moistened also add salt and pepper to taste. It depends on how you want to serve it as to how much broth to use. Adding a little broth will make it stiffer more broth will make is spreadable. Mom would use less broth and put the mixture in a loaf pan so she could slice it for sandwiches. I usually make it with more broth so that it is easy to spread on sandwich buns. Refrigerate until cool.
Typically no condiments are used although I like a little mayonnaise on my bread. As long as you keep the chicken cold you can make up sandwiches ahead of time.
If you have more broth than you will need boil it down some to concentrate the flavor. Or save it for another use (noodles?).
If you don't think you have enough broth add some water and bring it back to a boil.