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Print Poached chicken

'Sadly, in these days of fierce griddles and grills, poaching meat isn’t the height of fashion. Don’t bother cooking a conventionally farmed bird in liquid (it’s textureless and tasteless enough without diluting it further), but it works a treat with our free ranging organic fowl. The meat will stay moist and the resulting clear stock will be incomparably better than anything got from boiling up your roast chicken carcass.' (Ben Watson)

Category

Chicken recipes  

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken
  • Selection of leeks, carrots, celery
  • Thyme
  • Few peppercorns

Method

  1. Put your chicken or half chicken in a large saucepan or casserole along with stock vegetables, spices and aromatics. Add enough water to cover, bring up to a simmer and skim the surface.
  2. The secret is then to never let the liquid boil – if you have a meat or jam thermometer, keep it at about 85ºC. The chicken will take about 1½ hours from the time it reaches simmering point, depending on the size of the bird.

Cooks notes

Properly poached chicken is a thing of beauty and versatility; substitute it for roast chicken, cool it and serve as part of a salad (eg. Coronation Chicken), or with virtually any vegetable or pulse, also cooked in the broth.
Caper-based, tartare, ravigôte or gribiche sauces all work well. Simon Hopkinson is king of the caper – his book ‘Week in, Week out’ gives all the details and more poached chicken suggestions.
The down side of poached chicken is that you don’t get the crispy skin - but don’t despair. Either put the poached chicken in a hot oven for a final blast, or after carving, chuck the skin back in the broth with the carcass for a second flavour extraction session. We owe it to the chicken!
want to cook with fresh ingredients? try one of our award winning veg boxes