Recipes for southern chicken stew vary slightly from person to person, but it is usually made by first cooking a whole chicken by boiling or parboiling, allowing a rich broth to form. The chicken is then removed from the pot and the meat is pulled from the bones or cut off with a knife. The skin, bones and fat are removed as well. Sometimes boneless, skinless chicken breasts are used instead of a whole chicken. A thickening of flour and milk or cream is made and added to the broth. The chicken is then added back into the liquid along with salt, pepper and butter or margarine. Various other ingredients may be added to the stew according to local tradition; a more common addition is varying amounts of hot sauce.The stew varies in color from white to pale yellow, depending on the amount of butter or margarine used. It can vary in thickness from very thin and soup-like to thick and creamy. Saltine crackers are commonly served with chicken stew, either on the side or crumbled into the bowl.