On Poaching a Chicken & Hungry Teenagers
My almost 14 year old son is always hungry and wants meat! We haven't traditionally eaten a lot of meat, but after my intensive chemotherapy a few years ago I started to eat more to rebuild my blood, which reminded me yesterday when my son said, "The only one. good thing that came out of […]

My almost 14 year old son is always hungry and wants meat! We haven't traditionally eaten a lot of meat, but after my intensive chemotherapy a few years ago I started to eat more to rebuild my blood, which reminded me yesterday when my son said, "The only one. good thing that came out of your cancer was that we now eat more meat!

There are of course other studies which show that limiting or eliminating animal products potentially reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence. So the kid wants meat, I should probably limit it, AND we're fortunate to have access to a lot of delicious and nutritious food, so that's a luxury issue for sure.

In addition, raising and eating meat is complicated. Industrial meat production wreaks havoc on people, the planet and the animals themselves. And regenerative agriculture can build the soil, sequester carbon, and produce great meat. Who has access to this meat is another tricky question. Much remains to be done to move away from the industrial sector and make regeneration more feasible and products more accessible. . . .

In the meantime, if you get your hands on a whole chicken, poach it, because:

  • ~ 3 liters of rich broth
  • Tender meat that easily detaches from the bone
  • Less messy than roasting

If you paid more than $ 20 for this farmed chicken, you can easily get 4 meals out of it, and more if you count all the ways you'll use the broth. . . This is if you use the chicken as in the salad photo above and other dishes where meat is a component or accent but not the bulk of the meal.

So far, with this about 3.5lb poached chicken I've made:

  • Thai curry with part of the broth and meat, coconut milk, red peppers, potatoes and basil on rice
  • Tacos with meat seasoned with chili powder and briefly seasoned
  • Quesadillas with lots of coriander
  • Cabbage, vermicelli, soy sauce / fish salad / lime vinaigrette and roasted peanuts
  • I have enough meat left for a few tacos or a burrito for my child to store as a snack any time of the day
  • I have 2 liters of broth left for risotto, soup, pipian ,. . . .

Poaching a chicken

Fully thawed 3.5-4 lb chicken if it has already been frozen.

1. Rinse the chicken and giblets / neck (if any) under cold running water and shake off the water.

2. Place the chicken in a large saucepan with ½ a little chopped onion, 1-2 carrots, cut into quarters, 3 stalks of celery and the attached celery leaves, chopped a little. You can skip the celery in a pinch like I had to above.

3. Add 2 teaspoons of whole peppercorns; a clove of garlic (peeled and crushed); 2 bay leaves and a few sprigs of thyme and parsley if you have any.

4. Cover the chicken with water, add 2 teaspoons of sea salt or kosher salt and bring to a boil. Then bring to a boil, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

5. Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the broth to cool for 30 minutes (or more). Remove the chicken and transfer it to a skillet or rimmed baking sheet to cool further. Check if the chicken is fully cooked and the meat comes off the bones easily and the juices are clear. Strain and use the broth immediately or strain into quart or quart jars and refrigerate or freeze for future use. Use it for soup, risotto, sauces like Pipian verde, etc. The chicken will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for approximately 6 days.

6. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove all meat.

Juicy poached chicken meat is wonderful in chicken noodle soup, chicken salad, enchiladas, moles, tacos, curries, chicken pie, pasta dishes, etc. Alternatively, you can let the poached chicken cool for about five minutes, then pull it apart into eight main pieces (two from each breast, thigh, drumstick and wing) and serve with the broth and a few potatoes and a green salad.

Whether you regularly whip up Michelin-worthy meals at the drop of a hat or your cooking skills are best described as “fine, ” you can always benefit from the helpful little tricks of others. Here, 14 of our friends’, families’ and coworkers’ most-used cooking tips.

There’s a time and a place to whip out that complicated coq au vin recipe you’ve been dying to try. A dinner party isn’t that time. With a new recipe, you’ll likely be chained to the kitchen the whole time, plus, when you’re trying something for the first time, there’s always the possibility that it could go horribly wrong. When cooking for a group, we always err on the side of tried-and-true crowd-pleasers.

You do hours of prep work on an intricate dish, only to be totally disappointed once you taste the terminal product. Bummer. Instead of putting in all that effort only to be disappointed, taste while you cook. That way, you’ll realize sooner that the dish isn’t tasting how you’d like it to, and you can make all kinds of last-ditch exercices to save it. This doesn’t just work for bad-to-OK meals. Tasting midway through and realizing how perfect a dash of cayenne or a squirt of lemon juice would be can take a great dinner to legendary status.

Plating pasta means tossing some onto a plate and finishing it with a nice dollop of sauce right on the middle, right ? Wrong. Here’s how to take your carbs to the next level : On the stove there should be two pans, one with pasta and one with sauce. Cook the pasta to al dente and transfer it into the sauce. Then, add a little bit of pasta water ( literally just the starchy water the pasta has been cooking in ), which will help the sauce cling to the pasta while also keeping it the right consistency. Perfection.

In the pursuit of the perfect steak, you have to be OK with your kitchen getting a little smoky. That’s because, to get the mouthwatering sear we’re all after, the meat has to be dry and the pan should be pretty damn close to smoking hot. Trust us, it’s worth a few seconds of a blaring alarm.

Most foods are ruined by too much salt. Steak is different. When it comes to seasoning your meat ( before you cook it ), more is more. Use a generous amount of coarse Kosher salt—more than you think you need. Since most cuts of steak are pretty thick, even though you’re using a lot of salt, it’s still only covering the surface.

This one isn’t too complicated. Whether you’re making avocado toast, pizza, fried rice or a burger, the addition of a fried egg on top will not hurt your feelings. Trust us.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve definitely found ourselves in a situation where we assumed we knew all of the ingredients that went into chocolate chip cookies only to find out that we had about half the required amount of brown sugar. Ugh. to avoid a mid-cooking grocery-store trip, read the recipe from front to back—carefully—before you start.

Prepping grains in mass quantities is less about taste than convenience. Rice, quinoa and even oatmeal last about a week in the fridge after being cooked. When we’re prepping any one of those, we double up our measurements and store the leftovers, which are then impossibly easy to use up throughout the week. Too tired to make dinner ? Heat up some leftover rice from the fridge and toss an egg on top ( remember ? ). Couldn’t be simpler.

So you fried up a pound of bacon for an indulgent ( read : delicious ) brunch. Great, just make sure you don’t throw out the grease in the pan. Instead, save it in the refrigerator or freezer ( it technically lasts for up to a year, but should be used sooner than that to take full advantage of its flavor ). Then, anytime you’re cooking something you typically prepare in oil, try cooking it in the bacon grease instead. You’ll never want to eat Brussels sprouts the old way again.

You’ve probably heard that whenever a dish is lacking a little something-something, the best thing to do is toss in some salt. But, we have it on good authority that salt isn’t always the answer. When you’re tasting a dish at the end and you think it needs a little oomph, often it just needs a splash of acid ( like lemon juice ) to round out the flavor.

You know the difference between a paring knife and a fillet knife, but do you know how to take care of them ? Or, more importantly, how to use them ? A set of good knives can be the difference between a stressful cooking experience and a great one. First, practice your knife skills. Look up tutorials on YouTube and practice chopping, slicing and julienne-ing. It’s amazing what you can do with your cook time when your prep time is shortened with solid knife skills. Then, once you’ve got your skills down pat, learn how to take care of your set. No one ever achieved kitchen greatness with a dull chef’s knife.

The key to tender, flavorful barbecue and roasts ? Cooking it on a low temperature for a long time. The same doesn’t go for roasting veggies. For crispy, perfectly cooked butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and more, remember the magic number : 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and you risk pulling a pan of blah carrots out of the oven. It might seem high, but to get the nice roasted flavor, you need high heat. And while we’re on the subject, stop crowding your veggies in the pan, which will also make them soggy.

You know how just about every cookie recipe suggests that you chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, but oftentimes you don’t listen because you just want cookies now ? ! ( Same. ) Unfortunately, this step actually does make a difference. In addition to limiting how much the dough spreads while baking, chilling your dough intensifies the flavors and produces that perfect chewy, crispy matière we know and love.

It won’t do your breath any favors, but never ( ever ) scrimp on garlic. In fact, we typically double the amount a recipe calls for. Apologies to anyone who was planning on kissing us.


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