Sunday, 24 August 2014

Poached chicken -- Kitchen style

Image courtesy Creative Commons 
Poaching chicken is a wonderful way of cooking chicken that keeps it moist and flavourful. We use poached chicken a lot here in the Kitchen when we are catering events. The meat can be used in sandwiches, soups, casseroles, salads or sliced by itself. This recipe gives a delicate flavour to the meat. 

Most important -- don't throw out that cooking liquid. This is an extremely flavourful soup base. Freeze it in gallon sized freezer bags and use for soups or stews. We always keep 4 or 5 litres of it on hand at all times because once this broth is made, a kettle of fresh homemade soup needs very little work -- and about 45 minutes to the table. 


  • 3-4 lb whole chicken (or chicken parts). Legs and thighs are preferred over breast meat if using parts. 
  • 3 litres chicken stock (either in ready to use box or bouillon powder) 
  • 1 large onion, chopped -- include the yellow skins if possible 
  • 1 large / 2 medium sized carrots, scrubbed and chopped 
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped including leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped or 1/4 teaspoon dried garlic powder (not salt) 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 black peppercorns 
  • sprig of rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • sprig of thyme or 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme 
  • 2 clove buds or pinch of ground cloves 
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil for sauteing 


  1. Using medium high heat, heat the oil in a large heavy bottom pot 
  2. Add chopped onion, carrots, celery and cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. 
  3. Add fresh garlic and stir well, cook for an additional minute. If using dried, skip this step. 
  4. Add spices (powder garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and cloves) 
  5. Place the whole chicken (or chicken parts) on top of the sauteed vegetables and add enough stock to cover half of the chicken (about mid way up the thigh). Don't cover the chicken. 
  6. Bring the pot contents to a boil and immediately reduce to a slow simmer. Cover the pot. 
  7. Cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until meat is falling off the bones 
  8. Separate the meat from the carcass, discarding bones, cartilage and skin. Reserve for later use. 
  9. Strain vegetables from the remaining broth and refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days or freeze for up to six months. 

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