Lemon & Spice Poached Chicken Breasts

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.

Poaching liquid
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 :-)

You might also like these posts:
Asian-style salad with raspberries
Ras-el-hanout rubbed chicken
Friday night sesame chicken

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  • Manggy February 10, 2008, 1:03 am

    Ah, you don’t need to put salt into the original poaching liquid? I watched the poaching episode of Good Eats but I fell asleep. Sometimes Alton can be too tedious. I hope you checked out The Good Eats Fan Page in your search.
    I just read barking out loud and I found out you had a new camera. I noticed your pics have been looking really good recently :)

  • Allen of EOL February 10, 2008, 11:42 am

    I didn’t add any salt to the liquid since I planned to put soy sauce on it later. I’m not sure what the official poaching rules are though – I do add salt when poaching eggs. I’m sure Alton would do things differently :-)

    I do have a new camera so my pics have improved a bit. I’m new to using an SLR, so need to learn how to use it to its full potential.

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