This is the first time I have ever poached a chicken and afterwards I just sat back amazed at why I have never tried this before. I found this post on the Jamie Oliver web page and decided to give it a try. It is so much easier than roasting a chicken, makes much less mess, and you get a kick ass chicken stock out of it as well! This is the best way to cook a chicken when you are going to shred it and use it in recipes such as arroz con pollo, chicken pot pie, and enchiladas. The best chicken to use for poaching is a whole chicken that has been pre-cut into pieces. If you live near a grocery store that does not carry pre-cut whole chicken (like me), you can take a whole chicken and ask the butcher to cut it into pieces for you. If the entire butcher team at your grocery store happens to be out to lunch at the same time you need your chicken cut into pieces (like in my case) then you have to take that whole chicken and poach it whole or cut it into pieces yourself like I did. I boiled about two quarts of water and added some celery and carrot ends to the water. I also added some garlic and lemon peels. Then I added a generous amount of salt and pepper. You can use almost any extra vegetables and spices to season your stock and chicken. I added the pieces of chicken and boiled them for about 45 minutes (If using the whole chicken in one piece, boil for about an hour).
When done, your chicken will look like this: white and flaky.
And your broth will look like this, yellow and thick. And it will smell absolutely yummy!
Once cooled, I remove the skin from the chicken and shredded the meat into tiny pieces. This gets stored in the fridge until I am ready to use it in my favorite recipe.
The veggies and herbs get removed from the stock and the stock gets poured into a plastic container and chilled in the fridge for several hours to overnight. If you notice in the picture above, the broth has two layers. The top layer is all the fat that floats to the top and hardens in the fridge.
Skim the fat from the top of the broth and discard, then use the broth to flavor your favorite dish. I used it in my chicken pot pie, my arroz con pollo, and my turkey and butternut squash chili.