Perfect poached chicken recipe – and two recipes for poached chicken below
1 x 1.5g-1.75g free-range chicken
150g piece of smoked streaky bacon, cut into large cubes, skin intact
2 big knobs fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large bunch spring onions, trimmed and cut into short lengths
2 litres water
100ml light soy sauce (I use the Japanese Kikkoman, in fact)
100ml Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
Half chicken stock cube
2 star anise, broken up a bit
Choose a solid-based, lidded pot that will accommodate the bird quite snugly, but with a little room to spare around it. Put in the chicken (breast-side down) and add the bacon, ginger and spring onions. Pour in the water, then add the soy sauce, rice wine, chicken stock cube and star anise.
Bring up to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for five minutes.
Remove any scum that has formed on the surface with a few sheets of kitchen paper, then switch off the heat. Now, put on the lid and leave in the hot stock for 30 minutes. Carefully turn the chicken over and switch on the heat. Bring up to a simmer once more and, this time, switch off the heat once simmering and leave for a further 30 minutes, covered, until quite cold (discard all the cooking aromatics, including the bacon). The chicken is now ready to be prepared in the two recipes that follow.
Perfect poached chicken with rice
2tbsp peanut oil or other neutral tasting oil
2 cooked chicken thigh/drumstick joints
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2tsp Malaysian/Chinese curry powder (preferably not Indian Madras, for example), to taste
2 green chillies (seeds removed, or not, depending on your heat threshold), finely sliced
300g long-grain rice (I always use the Tilda brand that comes in a green packet)
500ml of chicken poaching stock (see above)
1 scant tbsp garlic chives, finely chopped (if you can’t find these, use chives or green spring-onion tops)
To garnish the dish
Half cucumber, peeled, thickly sliced and then cut into thick sticks (batons)
Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4.
Using a lidded pan that will go safely into the oven (also that will easily accommodate the two chicken joints), heat the oil and gently colour the chicken joints all over until golden brown. Remove the joints to a plate. Add the onions to the pot and cook until gilded a little, then stir in the curry powder and cook gently for a couple of minutes, stirring often.
Add the chillies and rice and, while continuing to stir, allow the rice to become glossed with oil for a few minutes; this will encourage the rice into separate grains while they cook. Pour in the poaching stock, stir together and reintroduce the chicken joints. Bring all up to a simmer, put on the lid and slide into the oven. Cook for 20 minutes.
Take out from the oven, do not remove the lid and leave be for 10 minutes. Place the chicken pieces into a heated serving dish. Vigorously fork-up the rice while also adding the garlic chives (or chives/spring onions) and pile alongside the chicken. Prettily garnish with the cool cucumber and serve forthwith.
Perfect poached chicken with noodles
150g fresh Asian noodles
300ml chicken poaching stock (see above)
1 small knob ginger, peeled and
cut into julienne strips
2 cooked chicken breasts
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large red chilli, thinly sliced
2 small spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
A small handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Boil the noodles briefly in lightly salted water until just cooked, but still slightly firm to the bite. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Heat the poaching stock in a roomy pan and add the ginger and chicken breasts. Bring up to a simmer and quietly reheat the chicken breasts for about 15 minutes, then lift them out and keep warm. Heat the sesame oil in a small frying pan and cook the garlic and chillies until lightly coloured, but not browned; put to one side. Heat two large and deep soup bowls.
Now, return the noodles to the hot stock and reheat for a few minutes until tender. Decant into the heated soup plates, dividing the noodles and stock between them, then slice the chicken breasts and lay over the noodles. Spoon over the sesame oil/garlic/chilli mixture and distribute the spring onions and coriander over each serving. Eat with chopsticks.
Simon Hopkinson is the founding chef and co-proprietor of Bibendum restaurant, London
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