Sunday, 21 April 2013

In Hot Water

I never knew how many uses there really was for chicken until I started doing a lot of cooking...chicken puts the term "million and one uses" to shame.  I swear that there is an infinite amount of ways to use chicken and it seems like a good majority can start with just plain old poached chicken. 

Whenever I used to hear the term "poached" all I could think of was those nasty hunks of meat with no flavour, no texture and just bleeeech.  That was until I started poaching my own chicken and realized that if I did up a bunch at once and then shredded it I'd have a quick lunch, dinner on hand in the freezer that I just needed to "spice up" to my liking.  As far as I'm concerned, ideas like this are born from 

I started by just using plain old boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  They did the job but I was positive I could do better.  Then I went hunting in my freezer and found some bone-in, skinless breasts that I'm pretty sure had been there for awhile.  The nice thing about poaching the chicken is it adds moisture, which for some freezer dried, forgot about chicken is a good thing.  Shredding it to use for sandwiches, pizza, quesidillas, soups or anything else you want to use it for is great too, because it hides the fact that I've forgotten this poor hunk of meat in the freezer and have brought it back to life, hopefully:)  Even better is that once I'm done, all I have to do is strain the liquid in the pot and I've got homemade chicken broth/ about waste not, want not!!

Poached Chicken

4 Bone-In, Skinless Chicken Breasts
10-11 Cups Water/Stock/Broth (I usually just use water because I'm seasoning it anyway)

2 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp Epicure Poultry Seasoning
1 Tsp Epicure Pot Herbs
1 1/2 Tbsp Epicure Chicken Bouillon Base
2-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (or 1 Tsp Dried)
Handful of Fresh Parsley (or 1/2-1 Tsp Dried)
A good pinch of salt

To start I place the chicken pieces in a single layer in the bottom of a stock/soup pot that has a tight fitting lid.  Cover them with enough liquid to have about 1"-1 1/2" over top, which for me is 10-11 cups.  Then toss everything else it.  I love how easy that is:)

Bring it to a boil, uncovered, skimming any crap off the top as it comes up.

This is the crap you want to skim off
Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to keep it at a slow simmer and let it simmer, partially covered for 10-12 minutes. 

Turn the heat off and fully cover it tightly and allow the chicken to sit in the hot water for 20 minutes.  I aim for an internal temperature of 165F once it's done. 

Once it's done, I just shred it using 2 forks and then divide it up into 1 cup or 2 cup portions and freeze it. 

Even better, like I said earlier, I strain the remaining liquid and voila, homemade chicken stock/broth.

I love how doing this keeps me ahead of the game when I'm under the gun for a quick lunch/dinner and it also lets me have my own chicken stock/broth on hand, that isn't full of salt, to use for soups, stews etc.  I ended up with about 6 cups of shredded chicken and 11 cups of chicken stock/broth:)

No comments:

Post a Comment