Apr 1, 2007

No-Poach Chicken

Café Luna Recipe:

3" nub of fresh Ginger, sliced about 1/4" thick (you can leave skin on)
3 cloves of fresh garlic, bruised or chopped in half
2-3 green scallions
6 whole peppercorns
1 gallon cold water (I use this amount of water for about 8 breasts. The idea is the chicken should have about 3" of water above it and the meat not crowded to poach evenly.)
(NOTE: An exceptional flavor option: long zest strips of lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange or Tangerine zest -no white pith [bitter!] - depending on your finished recipe- this really adds wonderful, haunting, elegant flavor)
Heavy bottomed pot with tight fitting lid
Chicken Breasts - skin on or off, bone in or not - must be un-frozen and at room temperature.

1. Fill pot with cold water. Add all the ingredients, except the chicken!

2. Cover with lid, bring to a rolling boil, and let boil about 5 minutes (to infuse the water with the aromatics). Lift the lid and smell your liquid: you want to be able to lightly smell the ginger, the garlic and the citrus (if using). If you don’t, add more of what you don’t lightly smell.

3. Lift the lid, turn off the heat, and gently slide the raw chicken into the pot. Cover.

4. Let chicken "poach" for exactly 2 hours without lifting the lid.

5. After two hours (don’t peek or lift lid!), remove the chicken, shred with fingers or cut into desired size for your finished recipe.*

That’s it. You will love this. Amaze your friends with this.

* The remaining poaching liquid can be used for stock. I would reduce it down about 50%, strain it, cool it, and freeze or refrigerate for later use in soups, sauces or ??? making.

Barbara Tropp (reprinted from "China Moon Cookbook"
"I know of no better way to cook a chicken breast for salads than ‘no-poaching.’ A modification of a classic Chinese technique, it involves nothing more than submerging a whole chicken breast with its skin and bone intact in lightly seasoned water that has been brought to a boil. The heat is then turned off, a lid clamped on the pot, and the meat left to cook through passively for 2 hours. It’s a no-brainer in the words of my husband, and a technique that amazes every cook in our kitchen. The result is a chicken breast that is tender, perfectly cooked, and unsurpassed for moistness.
Three things are important to the success of no-poach chicken:
First, the chicken must be impeccably fresh. That is, it should have no smell, leach no blood, and the raw meat should cling tenaciously to the skin and bone.
Second, the breast must be at room temperature when it is submerged in the boiling water.
Third, the pot should be a heavy one with a close-fitting lid to hold in the heat.
With all three in line, no-poaching is flawless."

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