Saturday, March 20th, 2010 at 7:05 pm

The Cooking Chronicles: Chicken for Lunch

With pan-frying and roasting being our go-to methods of cooking chicken, I really never considered poaching an option before. From reading tips on various websites, it seemed the trick to moist, flavourful meat was to throw in some flavouring agents (bay leaves, peppercorns, onions, garlic, salt, etc.), and not to overcook it.

Needing some cooked chicken for a We Eat Together recipe for curried chicken and apple soup, I decided to poach a chicken breast in the chicken stock and coconut milk that would become the base of the soup anyway. Good idea, in theory, except that coconut milk has a tendency to boil over…very quickly. Besides having to clean the stove though, the method worked reasonably well. The apples were an interesting textural addition to the soup – they became almost translucent in appearance, and lost most of their sweetness to the broth. I probably wouldn’t have known they were apples if I didn’t add them myself. It’s hard not to love a soup that contains coconut milk though!

Curried Chicken and Apple Soup (photographed in the very drab lunch room at my office – between the fluorescent lighting and the grey tables, I admit defeat)

A second meal involving poached chicken (this time just in water, with a few aromatics thrown in), was a variation on Donna Hay’s chicken pot pies, from No Time To Cook. Her version involved combining cooked chicken with sour cream, shredded cheddar to be baked in ramekins and a puff pastry crust. I decided to throw in some peas and steamed potatoes and carrots for good measure.

Chicken Ramekin Pies

The final product was perfectly sized for lunch the next day (and the puff pastry wasn’t too worse for wear heated separately in a toaster oven).

Mmm…puff pastry

It’s always handy to have more cooking methods at my disposal, especially ones that don’t involve a lot of work on my part!