Poaching is a fast and easy cooking method resulting in tender, juicy, flavorful meat. It’s not something I do often but after making these deliciously moist chicken breasts, I plan to add poaching to my regular cooking line-up. Poaching requires liquid (water, wine, broth, juice or a combination of all of these), aromatics like garlic, onion, pepper, and herbs and low heat to simmer rather than boil. Chicken breasts (either bone-in or boneless) and most fish are excellent choices for poaching. I had some very large bone-in chicken breasts so I grabbed whatever aromatics I had in the fridge (1/2 a lemon, parsley, onion, garlic), a few peppercorns and some bay leaves. If you happen to have fresh ginger, add a slice to the cooking liquid. It will infuse a nice flavor into to the broth and the meat. I used the poached chicken to make a scrumptious fall chicken salad (recipe below). You can also use the chicken for sandwiches or for a fast and easy chicken soup.
Poached Chicken Breasts with Lemon, Onion, and Parsley
3 large chicken breasts (bone-in) or 4 boneless chicken breast
14 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
Small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
½ lemon, sliced
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Small bunch of fresh parsley (or other fresh herbs like dill, sage, or cilantro)
A few slices of fresh ginger (optional)
Place the chicken in a large sauce pan, deep enough so the chicken can be covered with about 2 inches of liquid. Pour broth over the chicken and add enough water to cover the chicken. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring the broth to a gentle boil then lower the heat to a simmer (you should see gentle waves over the surface of the liquid with an occasional bubble). Cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes for bone-in breasts (depending on size) and about 15 minutes for boneless chicken breasts. Cool chicken slightly in the poaching broth then remove the chicken from the broth and use as desired. Strain the flavorful poaching broth and save it for making soups or stews.
Note: I did not have a deep enough pan to totally submerge the chicken so I left the skin on to keep the meat moist. If you are able to cover it completely with liquid, you should remove the skin.
Autumn Chicken Salad with Grapes, Walnuts and Apples
- 2 large poached chicken breasts, chopped or shredded (about 3-4 cups)
- 1/2 cup red grapes (cut in half)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup chopped apple
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1/4-1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, stir together the chicken, grapes, walnuts, apple and onion. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper. Add the yogurt sauce to the chicken mixture and mix until combined.
Note: You really don’t need to measure the ingredients. Add more or less depending on your flavor preference. You can also swap out ingredients; almonds for the walnuts, dried cranberries for the grapes, and pears for the apples. Mix and match any flavor combination you prefer.