I learned about the virtues of poached chicken from Chef John Ash, from his book Cooking One on One. This technique is based on his, however I have adjusted the flavorings for a more neutral-flavored broth (versus a predominantly ginger-flavored broth)
- 1 whole chicken, neck reserved (if it is included in the cavity, along with the heart, liver & kidneys. I don’t save those organs, but don’t tell Mr. Batch — he loves organ meats)
- 1 whole onion, large-diced
- 2 or 3 carrots, large-diced
- 2 or 3 stalks celery, large-diced (this is a great use for the woody, outer stems of a head of celery)
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- Optional: the juice from a lemon or from lemon slices you need to use-up; a few green onions that you should use-before-you-lose
Rinse the chicken inside and out, and remove as much skin as possible and discard. Leaving the skin on results in a fatty broth that I end-up skimming-off and discarding once it has solidified in the cooled broth.
Completely sanitize faucet & sink with anti-bacterial cleaning product, to minimize the spread of salmonella.
Add chicken to large stock-pot, and add all other vegetables and seasonings listed above. Cover all of this with Britta-filtered water (approximately 8-12 cups, depending on size of your stock-pot).
Bring to a boil, and then down to a very low simmer. Use a ladle or a large spoon to remove any foam that rises to the top, being careful not to also take any of the peppercorns or vegetables. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes.
- 8-10 entire stems of parsley
Add to the stock-pot, stir to combine with broth, cover stock-pot, and then turn off the heat. Push to a back burner, and allow to sit, covered for 1 hour.
Remove chicken from broth and cool on a plate in the fridge. Once cool, pick the chicken off the bones, and save bones in a bag in the freezer for a batch of bone broth to be made another time. Portion and store chicken either in refrigerator or freezer.
Strain broth and discard vegetables and seasonings and chicken neck (if used). I extract as much flavor as possible from the vegetables by pressing them against the strainer with the back of a spoon or a ladle.
Use immediately, if making a soup. Or cool broth in refrigerator, and then portion and freeze, to be drunk like a tea with lemon (immunity-boosting) or to be made into a soup or used in sauces, etc. another time.
I like to eat this chicken, as is or possible flavored with a few sprinkles of sea salt or a sauce such as Trader Joe’s Thai Red Curry Sauce. This chicken also makes tremendous chicken salad. I like how soft and juicy the meat is.