Last year, when I was reading a new favorite food blog, I stumbled upon an idea. The poached chicken. I loved this idea as I could kill (no pun intended) two birds with one stone. I could have silky poultry to use throughout the week, and a head-start on a batch of stock. Since reading that post, our favorite Sunday Supper, the roasted chicken has been put on the back burner.
Poaching a chicken is amazingly easy, and you can flavor the poaching water with whatever seasonings you want. I normally use what ever leftover herbs that I have around the house, toss in an onion, chunks of celery and carrots, and let the water come to a boil. 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, and the beginning to a big pot of stock is under way.
After the chicken is poached, I let it cool, and then remove all the meat from the carcass. I like to separate white and dark meat, for different recipes, but feel free to toss it all into a bowl. I return all the chicken skin and bones to the pot of broth and put it into the fridge until the next day. The next day, I skim off the fatty layer, then I add a chopped up onion, some carrots and celery, and let it simmer away most of the day. Back into the fridge, then I skim off the fatty layer and strain the mixture. What is left is a rich stock, that I freeze in small containers to use at a later time.
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 cilantro, onions, celery, and black cardamon 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 freeze for another time. Thinking it will be great in a bit pot of soup or chili.
- 1 5 1/2 lb chicken, left whole
- 1 yellow onion, cut in half
- 1 celery stock, cut in half
- 1 carrot, scrubbed and cut in half
- assorted herbs of choice
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper corns
- 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.
- I let the chicken sit overnight in the fridge in the pot of stock, and then I pick all 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.