I stumbled upon an idea over the holidays, poached chicken. I loved this as I could kill two birds with one stone. I could have silky poultry to use throughout the week in different recipes, and a head-start on a batch of chicken stock.
Poaching a chicken is amazingly easy, and you can flavor the poaching water with whatever seasonings you want. I normally use whatever leftover herbs that I have around the house, along with a bay leaf, onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Once the water is at a rolling boil, I plunge the whole chicken into the pot, cover with a lid, turn off the heat and forget about it. Simple. The meat comes out silky smooth, flavorful, and is the beginning of a batch of chicken stock.
After the chicken is poached, I let it cool, and then remove all the meat from the carcass. I separate white and dark meat, and use in different recipes, but feel free to toss all of the meat into the same bowl. I return the chicken skin and bones to the pot of broth and if I have time I make stock.
If I do not have the time, then I put the pot of broth back into the fridge until the next day. The next day, I skim off the fatty layer and continue to make stock.
Last week I decided to poach a chicken and see what wonderful meals I could create throughout the week. I started with a 5 1/2 pound free range chicken, and I used onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaves in my poaching broth. The chicken was incredibly moist and flavorful, and the stock that was made after poaching was heavenly.
Throughout the week we enjoyed these amazing dishes. All the recipes serve 4 people. There was some chicken meat leftover, so I put it into the freezer for another time. Thinking it will be great in a soup or chili.
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1 5 1/2 lb chicken, left whole
1/2 organic yellow onion, cut in half
1 organic celery stock, cut in half
1 organic carrot, scrubbed and cut in half (if you don’t use organic, then peel)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- Fill a stock pot full of water, add all of the seasonings. Bring to a rolling boil.
- Drop the chicken into the pot, and continue boiling for 30 minutes.
- Cover with a lid and turn off the heat.
- Let the chicken sit in the pot on the stove top for 4 hours.
- Pick all of the meat off of the carcass. Do not leave any meat on the bones.
- DO NOT toss out the broth, use it to make a stock, you can put into the freezer for future use.
- Return the bones to the broth and make stock.
- Use the poached chicken in any recipe calling for shredded chicken.
- Store the meat in the fridge to use in a wealth of recipes during the week. Be sure to shred the meat into fine pieces.