Poached chicken is as delightful as roasted for many reasons: there is the delicate texture of the meat; the fact that you are left with a large pot of wonderful chicken stock which can serve as a base for a soup or a stew; and the delicious shredded chicken which results, yielding leftovers for lunches or yet more dinners.
Poaching a chicken is great any time of year and seasonal vegetables can be added right to the pot with the chicken as it nears the end of its cooking time.
1 whole chicken
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1-2 celery stalks, or celeriac roughly chopped
red chili flakes
1½ teaspoons rosemary garlic salt
a few sprigs of fresh parsley (optional)
Put chicken in a large pot, cover with water, and add the remaining ingredients.
Bring almost to the point of boiling, then reduce heat and maintain a low simmer for roughly one hour and 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when you pierce the meat. If you boil the chicken, you’ll end up with tough stringy meat.
If you would like to add some seasonal veg to your pot, use these cooking times as a guide:
Chopped turnips – 30 mins
Chopped potatoes/new potatoes – 20 mins
Quartered fennel – 20 minutes
Cabbage – 10 minutes
Kale – 4 minutes
Chard – 2 minutes
Spinach – 30 seconds
FOR THE BEST BROTH:
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and continue to simmer for another 30-40 minutes, until the broth has reduced by about a third. Return the bones to the broth for extra flavor, or reserve those for another batch. If you don’t plan on using the broth right away for a soup, stew, risotto or gravy, pour into freezer safe containers and save for another time.
IDEAS FOR LEFTOVER SHREDDED CHICKEN: