Fried foods were the staple of my childhood. I never had any poached food growing up and therefore never learned to poach. Where I grew up, ‘poaching’ is a method of hunting/killing animals on someone else’s land. I didn’t do that type of poaching either. I decided to explore the culinary form of poaching in order to flavor chicken breasts for an asian-style salad I planned to make.
I’ve seen the method described on a gazillion cooking shows, but looked at a few recipes online first to make sure I was going about it in the right way. Basically, throw all of your flavorings into a pot of water, with enough water to cover the chicken. Add the chicken and simmer for about 20 minutes or until done.
3 3″ pieces of cinnamon
3 whole star anise
2 small stalks lemon grass, crushed
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3″ piece of ginger, cut into several pieces
2 green onions, chopped
zest from 1/2 lemon
As you can see, I wanted something with a citrus-spice edge to it, so I played around with the poaching liquid. I heated the water with these ingredients then added the chicken. I left the pot partially covered and turned the heat down to a slow simmer (medium-low). The chicken took about 20 minutes to reach proper temperature. I then removed it from the liquid and placed onto a plate to cool.
Since I wouldn’t be serving it for a few hours, I decided to top it with a little marinade to further intensify the flavors. I mixed a two tablespoons of soy sauce, with a teapsoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of ginger. I chopped 2 green onions into this strips and sprinkled over the chicken, then poured the sauce over the chicken. I let the chicken cool to room temperature before covering and placing into the refrigerator for later use.
When I cut into the chicken several hours later it was so very tender and moist. The flavor was subtle and not too intense, gentle and mild. I mixed the chilled slices of chicken into a mix of romaine, orange segments, cilantro, and raspberries — then tossed with an asian vinaigrette dressing. It was wonderfully delicious.
I didn’t use all of the chicken for the salad, so have leftovers in the fridge. I’m considering a chicken salad similar to how I make tun salad (i.e. without mayo, but olive oil instead). I could shred the chicken and add shredded green onion and carrot, then toss with some lemon zest, cilantro and a bit of sesame oil. I could serve it on a crusty bit of bread or toss with noodles. Not sure which direction I’ll go, but either way it’ll be good.
Joe is mowing the lawn and I’m blogging … hope I don’t get in trouble for not helping. I’m feeling kinda sick actually and want desperately to take a nap. When I get online I’m always drawn into blogging :-)