Friday, January 14, 2011

RECIPE: Poached Whole Chicken

I honestly don't know where I first got the idea for this. I may have read it somewhere, but I definitely don't remember my mother or anyone in my family preparing a chicken this way. The basic concept is to take a cold or near room temperature chicken and place it in near boiling water (off the heat) and let them reach equilibrium. If you "tease" the chicken, so to say, towards doneness, it's a more gentle way of cooking the meat and won't overcook the outer layers of protein before the inside gets done. The result is a perfectly done chicken in all respects. The thighs and legs are juicy, the breasts are almost impossibly moist and the entire ensemble carries an intense chicken flavor.

Note that the larger the pot you use for this, the longer it will take to get the water to boil, but the massive volume of the water will mean less iterations as equilibrium is reached.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, crushed
  • salt

Place chicken in large pot or stockpot and fill with just enough water to cover the chicken. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat, drain, and refill with water 1 inch below rim of pot. Add ginger and salt generously. Bring to boil, cover, then take off heat and let sit for 1/2 hour.

Check with meat thermometer to see if the internal temperature has reached 165 (note that this is lower than recommended by FDA, but I'm still alive). A knife can also be used to cut a slit in the thigh and if blood emerges, it's not done. If done, remove from pot and serve immediately or chill. If not, bring the water back to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let it reach equilibrium again, about another 1/2 hour or however long you think it might take to reach the temperature for doneness.

It's definitely a process that involves several tries and some intuition, but once you have it down, it's really quite easy and the result is incomparable. I recommend serving with a ginger/scallion oil or a ginger vinegar soy.

No comments:

Post a Comment