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Poaching Poultry   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Contributed by Tara Hayes   User Rating:starstarstarstarstar / 27
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Thursday, 09 September 2004



Kitchen Scientist

A primer on poaching poultry

Have you ever wondered why poultry changes color when it's cooked? Right before your eyes, the chicken flesh changes from a bright, nonedible pink to a succulent and wonderfully edible, solid-looking white...



You may not realize it, but when you bite into a juicy piece of chicken (be it the legs, wings, breast or thighs), basically you're eating chicken muscles.

A main component of muscle is protein. When raw chicken is cooked, the heat denatures, or damages, the muscle proteins. As a result, the proteins either break apart, clump together or change shape. These changes force water from the muscle tissues and the meat turns white as it cooks.

Are you in the mood for chicken now? How about serving some scrumptious poached chicken for dinner tonight?

Poaching is a cooking technique that's often overlooked when it comes to poultry. Maybe that's because when the word ``poach'' is mentioned, many of us conjure up images of inhospitable hospital cuisine, gummy gruel baby food, or excessively sugared, mushy poached fruit.

Wipe those images from your mind. Today, it's my mission to present the real lowdown on poached chicken.

Poached poultry is cooked in a slowly simmering, barely boiling flavored liquid that imparts a delicate, subtle flavor to the meat.

Since the chicken is cooked in liquid, there's little danger of it drying out. The result is a chicken dish that's flavor-fabulous and supremely moist.

What's more, poached chicken is easy to make and can be ready for the table in a little over 30 minutes. If you're looking for an elegant yet family-friendly dish that even the most finicky eater will enjoy, consider poached chicken.


2 cups dry white wine or 1 cup each apple juice and water

2 small stalks celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp. parsley

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp. rosemary

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. butter

Salt, pepper to taste

In a large skillet over moderately high heat, bring wine (or water and apple juice), celery, onion, carrot, broth, parsley, garlic and rosemary to a boil. Add chicken breasts, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 25 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and cover with foil to keep warm.

Increase heat under skillet and boil liquid for 5 minutes, uncovered.

Remove one-fourth cup of the skillet liquid and put into a small bowl. Add flour to the bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour this mixture back into skillet and cook, stirring gently until sauce boils and thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat, add butter, salt and pepper, and stir. Transfer chicken to plates and cover with skillet sauce. Serve poached chicken over rice or hot biscuits.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 January 2005 )

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