Poaching is a simple cooking technique that prepares the chicken slowly and gently in a simmering, but not boiling poaching liquid that covers the food. It is considered to be the best way to cook boneless, skinless chicken as no oil or fat is required and still the end result is succulent, tender, delicious low-fat chicken worthy of any chicken recipe. Another advantage of poached chicken is that it is lower in sodium, and is apparently more moist than any other cooked chicken.
Poached chicken can be used in any chicken recipe including chicken sandwich, as a filling for chicken pot pies, burritos, salads, etc. The key ingredient of this cooking technique is the poaching liquid which can be as simple as plain water or can be a seasoned or flavored liquid like white wine, chicken broth, water infused with fresh or dried herbs and chopped vegetables, fruit juices, light coconut milk, etc.
Method for Poaching Chicken
- Whole or chopped chicken
- Chopped onions
- Chopped celery
- Chopped carrots
- Chicken broths
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
Steps to be Followed:
- Depending upon the size of the chicken or chicken pieces, amount of the poaching liquid i.e., chicken broth so that chicken gets completely covered in it.
- In a large pot, boil the chicken broth and for every quart of liquid, put approximately 1 cup each chopped onion, carrot and celery in it.
- Add the peppercorns and season the poaching liquid slightly with salt.
- Reduce the heat so the liquid is just below a simmer and with the help of a food thermometer check its temperature.
- If the temperature is around 190º C, add the chicken or chicken pieces to the liquid and ensure that the chicken is well submerged.
- Cook about 15 - 20 minutes for chicken pieces and 45 - 60 minutes for whole chicken.
Poaching Chicken Breasts
- Chicken (Boneless chicken breast, split chicken breast or chicken thighs)
- Poaching liquid (Water, broth, and/or wine)
- Flavorings like rosemary, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, lemon zest, ginger, garlic, celery, onions, carrots, etc.
Steps to be Followed:
- In a pan, place the chicken breast and add enough poaching liquid to cover it.
- Add salt and desired flavorings to it and bring the liquid to a boil.
- Now reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat, cover it and let the chicken breast rest in it for 20 - 30 minutes.
- Finally keep the chicken in a container, cover with liquid and refrigerate.
To enhance the flavor and the texture of your chicken, match the seasonings according to your recipe, do not use too much of salt and watch the time so that you do not overcook the chicken. Also if you do not know what to do with the left over poaching liquid, do not throw it as it can be used in soups and gravies.