Poached Chicken

This is not the most appetizing of recipes… even the title sounds lame… BUT I ask that you stay with me because the results are essential for a follow up recipe (tomorrow). Much like roasted eggplant, poached chicken can go in many directions (and no, I have not forgotten the follow up recipes for eggplant).

The recipe is from Martha Rose Shulam for the Recipes for Health column of the New York Times:

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.

Since we’re dealing with raw poultry, its imperative that we keep the number of surfaces it touches to a minimum and that we clean up after ourselves before moving on to other steps. It’s also imperative that the chicken is cooked until its done (more on this in a second).

So first things first…  grab a clean plate, a couple of paper towels and the antibacterial soap. Second, place the package of chicken in the sink and open it. Remove and rinse each piece, let it drain, and then place it on the plate. Trash the package.  Fourth, clean up the work area i.e. soap up and wash out the sink and any other surface areas that were contaminated. Fifth, and most important of all, wash your hands!

As for “cooking until done” part, the recipe states a cooking time of 15 to 20 minutes and that the meat should not be pink if you slice into it. Forget that. The smarter method is to use a thermometer. In my case, the one that I use for grilling.

To get an accurate read you should remove the chicken from the pot, but at least your not cutting into the meat AND you know that it is done. For chicken, that would be 170º F and in this instance it worked out to be 16-18 minutes.

As for the choice of chicken, I had 3 boneless breasts that came in at 1.5 pounds. The recipe calls for 2, but I went by weight instead of quantity.

The resulting chicken breasts are… well… rather bland looking…

… but that will be addressed tomorrow. As for the remaining broth, its a nice by product that can be used for future recipes. I skimmed almost three quarts of broth and  its now resting comfortable as frozen bricks in the the freezer.

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~ by Genevieve on 2010.01.16.

2 Responses to “Poached Chicken”

  1. […] Yesterday I produced some rather bland looking chicken. Today, I’m going to show you one way to apply […]

  2. […] mixtures.  I’ve used all vegetable, all beef and in my last version I used one vegetable and one of the chicken broths from the poached chicken. None of these combinations appear to sway the overall taste too far in any […]

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