Poaching is a simple way to cook a flavorful and moist whole chicken.
My go-to recipe for a whole chicken is to roast it in the oven. And more often than not, the results are super-tasty. However, I am not such a fun of all the clean-up involved afterward.
Enter poached chicken. It's not much of a timesaver, but the clean up is WAY easier. And, this recipe is a bit of a two-fer. Not only do you get moist, flavorful chicken meat, but you also end up with plenty of chicken broth ready to be jarred up and placed in the fridge.
Once poached, the chicken is ready to eat as-is or you can use the shredded meat throughout the week for BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, or any number of other preparations.
1 3-5 pound whole chicken
1 teaspoon whole mixed or black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 lemon, sliced
bundle of fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme, tied together
1. Place the chicken in a very large stockpot. Add the peppercorns, crushed garlic, bay leaf, carrots, celery, onion, lemon, and herb bundle. Sprinkle with salt.
2. Cover the chicken completely with water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or a temperature that maintains a rolling simmer. Simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the chicken cool in the broth for 15 minutes, then strain the stock. You can reserve the stock and pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a jar to use in another recipe. (I reserved about 96 ounces, or 3 large (32-ounce) mason jars of broth.)
3. Carefully remove the skin and bones from the chicken and use a fork to shred the meat into bite-size pieces.
(adapted from this Rachael Ray recipe)