I like poaching chicken because it’s super easy. I’m busy, you’re busy. We’re all busy. Poaching the chicken in a flavorful broth is the way to go because it only takes a few minutes to do. And bonus points because it also works well if you forgot to thaw out the chicken overnight or during the day.
You can mix up the herbs and spices here according to what recipe(s) you’ll be making. A 3-4 lb. chicken will give you roughly 4-5 cups of cooked chicken. That should definitely be enough for a casserole and a pot of soup or a salad.
I like to use a whole cut up chicken because it has more flavor than boneless, skinless breasts and/or thighs. Remove as much of the skin as you can so the resulting broth isn’t too fatty. Discard the giblets, except for the neck. Some packages of chicken come with the back. Use that too. Fresh herbs are awesome here, but use dried if that’s what you have. This time I didn’t have fresh, so I used dried.
Poached Chicken with Cumin, Laurel and Oregano
One 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into breast, thigh, wings, and drumsticks
2 laurel (bay) leaves
1-2 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried cilantro
1-2 tsp. salt (you can use more, but don’t use too much)
2-3 garlic cloves, whole or crushed
1 large onion, halved
Cold water to cover by a few inches
Place all ingredients in a large stockpot (we use a 6 quart pot.) Cover with water.
Bring to a boil and skim the foam/scum off the surface. Lower heat and let simmer for at least 30-45 minutes, or up to 2 hours. (I find a longer simmer gives me better flavor and more tender chicken.)
Remove the chicken from the cooking liquid. Strain and reserve liquid. (Don’t throw it away!)
Let chicken cool and with your hands remove the meat from the bones.
It’s now ready to be used in a recipe. Stay tuned tomorrow for Fast Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce.