Poached chicken is simple to prepare and will reward you with tender, juicy meat that is healthy and versatile. Enjoy it hot or at room temperature, plain or with a sauce. You can pair it with pasta, cut into slices for sandwiches or chop and add to salads.
Although I use water as the cooking medium in this recipe, you could also use broth or wine or a combination. Because white meat is easily overcooked, resulting in chicken that is tough and dry, it’s best to keep the poaching-liquid well below the boiling point (between 180 and 205 degrees, meaning no bubbles are breaking the surface). Adding the vegetables and fresh herbs boosts the flavor factor.
- 1 carrot, cut in thirds
- 1 celery stalk, cut in half
- 1/2 onion, cut in half
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- Italian parsley, with stems (several sprigs)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons course salt (if you’re using broth, reduce the salt)
- 1 pound chicken breasts
- In a saucepan, add the carrot, celery, onion, lemon, parsley sprigs and salt and then cover with water (enough that will also cover the chicken). Bring to a boil.
- Add the chicken breasts, submerging in the water and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover the pot and cook 7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook until done (165*). This should take 5-6 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
- When done, remove the pan from the burner (take off the cover) and then let cool a bit while still in the poaching liquid. Using a thermometer, check the temperature of the chicken. If it has reached 165* you can transfer to another dish but, if not, leave in the poaching liquid another few minutes until it is the proper temperature.