Poached Whole Chicken

Poaching a whole chicken is a great way to have cooked chicken on hand without paying for rotisserie chicken at the store.  Once it’s made, you can use it soups and salads, put it on sandwiches, or make chicken salad.  A lot of times when I have this in the fridge and am running late, I’ll actually just grab a couple of small pieces of chicken on the way out the door.  The recipe is great too, because once you put everything in the pot, you can walk away and do something productive (or not) for about an hour – when it’s done, you’ll have a whole batch of homemade chicken broth as well!

Poached Whole Chicken
(makes about 4 cups shredded cooked chicken)
from The Foster’s Market Cookbook

One 3- to 4-pound chicken with skin
2 tsp salt
6 ribs celery
1 onion, cut in half
8 to 10 fresh herb stems with leaves
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half

Rinse the chicken and pat dry.  Place the chicken in a stockpot over medium-high heat and add enough cold water to cover the chicken by 2 inches.  Add the salt, celery, onion, herbs, and carrots.

Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, 40 to 45 minutes if using the chicken for soups (the chicken will continue to cook in the soup) or 50 minutes to 1 hour for salads and sandwiches.  The juices should run clear when the chicken is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife in the thickest part.

Remove the chicken from the broth (strain, discard solids, and reserve the broth for another use) and place in a colander set over a bowl until cool enough to handle.  Any jice that collects in the bowl can be added back to the strained broth.

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