Poached chicken can really be a workhorse in your kitchen, if you let it. You can use it to make chicken salad, or to fill tacos or enchiladas, or to top a green salad for a light lunch. You can really do a lot with it. I’ve found this method keeps the chicken from turning out tough, as can happen sometimes with poaching. Change up the aromatics you use in your poaching liquid – for example, if you’re going to use the chicken as a taco filling, you could add a handful of cilantro stems to your liquid.
I usually use bone-in chicken breasts – they’re cheaper and they add a lot more flavor to the poaching liquid. This makes about 2 cups of poached chicken (cut into 2-inch chunks).
2 bone in chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds total), skin and fat globs removed
5 cups chicken broth, stock, or water
1 rib celery, chopped in 3 pieces
1/2 carrot, chopped in 3 pieces
1/4 small onion (skin removed)
Handful of parsley stems
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Big pinch of salt
A pot large enough to hold the above ingredients
- Put the chicken in the pot, cover with broth, stock, or water, and add celery, carrot, onion, parsley stems, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, and salt.
- Bring to a boil, occasionally skimming the junk that rises to the surface and discarding. Boil for 8 minutes, uncovered.
- Turn off the pot, cover tightly, and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Remove the bones and any remaining bits of fat from the chicken. If desired, strain the broth and use in whatever recipe you desire.