Simple poached chicken
I´ve had a fairly trying two or three days. I lost my mobile phone, had a totally stupid and very ennervating meeting with a publisher, and to topple all, I had to do my income tax returns today. All in all, pretty taxing for the nervous system. The thing to do would be to have eaten a huge pizza with several diet Cokes, but I was also ill on Saturday. All of the best day of the week lying in bed, thinking I was surely dying! That sucks.
So to come back to life, I decided to cook some poached chicken. That´s as unexciting as can be, but soothing and comforting. I always thought poached chicken was the lowest form a bird could take, but after reading Chubby Hubby , I was brought around. It really is a pretty useful thing to have around, can be eaten in all sorts of ways, and is rarely dissappointing. If you poach it well, that is. After a day queing up at the phone shop and paying taxes you don´t want some dry and stringy white disaster. You want juicy and tender strands.
I always follow the method indicated in the Ballymaloe Cookery school book. If you have a whole chicken, and chicken stock, well and good for you. You can then follow the method for chicken rice, also from Chubby Hubby and a thing of wonder. But if not, this method will produce wonderful results from a couple of chicken breasts and a stock cube.
All you do is put the chicken in the stock ( the cube dissolved in the water, that is), bring it slowly to the boil, simmer it for five minutes, turn it off, cover it, and wait half an hour for the residual heat to finish cooking the chicken breasts.
If you want, and it´s a good idea, start with some diced vegetables, onion, celery, carrot and parsley stalks, and boil them fast in little water for 15 minutes, before adding enough water to cover the chicken, and going on as before.
The plus side is that you´re left with a pretty delicious broth that goes a long way to restore and soothe, in the form of a noodle soup with spinach and shiitake mushrooms, and some of the chicken. The rest goes into a fully decadent club sandwich for the man of the house, who, after all, wasn´t so ill, and still has his phone.