there's nothing quite as important to healthy cooking as poaching lean cuts of poultry.
Beginning cooks ask me all the time: What cooking techniques are most important?
The answer is simple -- as many as you can learn.
Just when I think I've gotten pretty handy in the kitchen, I watch an episode of The Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten or I crack open, The Taste of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and get schooled on something totally new.
The point is, be patient with yourself, and before you know it, you'll be sharing cooking secrets with other home chefs as green as you used to be.
Perfect Poached Chicken Breasts
2-3 bone-in chicken breasts
Enough water to barely cover chicken
1 bay leaf
½ lemon (sliced)
1 small bunch parsley
2 sprigs thyme (optional)
¼ onion (large slices)
1 stalk celery (roughly chopped, with leaves)
1 large carrot (roughly chopped)
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
In a large pot, combine chicken and all ingredients; cover with water by about 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 15 minutes. Remove skin, pull chicken meat away from bone and slice accordingly.
Once you poach your chicken, let it rest to redistribute the flavors. In 20 minutes, it will be moist, easy to slice and downright delicious. Poached chicken breasts are the perfect compliment to a tossed salad, a lean protein to add to pasta dishes, soft tortilla roll-ups, BBQ chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, and the list goes on.
How will you use your poached chicken?
Oh, and don't forget to save the beautiful homeade broth! It makes a great base for soups and it's so much tastier than the store-bought version. Store in the freezer, in small containers, so you can take out just what you need.