>So I picked up the Jan/Feb edition of Everyday Food to read on the plane back from Indiana earlier this week after visiting this guy:
(nephew Vaughn, seen here eating in a fashion very similar to Aunt Keri’s usual practices.)
By the time I walked through my front door, all I could think about was poaching chicken.
That’s right, poaching chicken. It gets a bad rap sometimes – because poaching chicken, especially white meat, correctly is an elusive process. Often the chicken is bland, or rubbery, or dry, or (gasp) all of the above.
But Everyday Food seemed to have come up with a foolproof process, and I was itching to try it, AND to use that poached chicken to make some of the things suggested in the magazine.
The recipe? (as I said – it is from Everyday Food, Jan/Feb 2010)
1/2 medium yellow onion, halved
1 medium carrot, cut into thirds
1 celery stalk, cut into thirds
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 sliced lemon (optional)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 springs thyme or parsley
4 b/s chicken breast halves (about 8 oz each)
In a large, straight-sided skillet or pot, combine all ingredients except chicken; cover with water by 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil over high. Add chicken and return to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, then cover and remove from heat. Let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15-18 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from liquid immediately.
Ok, so first off, I did indeed, do a few things differently, (seriously, Keri NEVER could follow a recipe exactly) so:
I used a small whole red onion, cut in half (because it is what I had)
I used 2 small carrots cut in half (because I didn’t have a medium one)
I used an extra piece of celery (because why not?)
I used pre minced garlic
“coarse salt?” snort – Morton’s for me!
I opted for parsley flakes and no lemon
I actually did 5 b/s breast halves instead of 4
Here are the veggies covered with water:
And after bringing them to a boil I added the chicken:
It isn’t so much what is in that pot kids – it is the method I am interested in here… The whole “bring to boil and then cover and let rest off heat” thing. That intrigued me because cooking too fast is my biggest problem when I try to poach. Even uber-low heat can be too much, it seems.
Can I tell ya – this worked like dream!! I let the chicken rest in the liquid covered for 18 minutes, turning at 9 minutes (really quickly so I didn’t let too much heat out) and it was perfectly cooked. I mean PER-FECT. Juicy, tender, with a flavor that was mild but not bland in the least.
What to do with it? Well, you could just eat it with a light sauce made by reducing some of the poaching liquid, or:
Yesterday I took one of their suggestions and mixed some of the chicken (torn into shreds) with a drizzle of EVOO, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkle of dried parsley and basil, 4 oz of blanched fresh green beans and a whole cucumber chopped up. I let it sit in the fridge until lunch and all the flavors had combined – it was cool and crunchy and really a great lunch salad.
Today was good old chicken salad with a spoon of mayo and plenty of dill relish on wasa crackers with red bell pepper sticks on the side.
I also used some of the poached chicken to make shredded chicken tacos – I shredded the cold chicken and then heated (covered) very briefly in the microwave with a palmful of chili powder mixed in – then used that mixture to fill soft tacos and set out whatever fixins we had around. Mmm mmm good.
Simple, easy, versatile… a truly foolproof technique for poaching chicken.