1 Chicken Recipe, 5 Meals

Once, when I was reading a favorite food blog, I stumbled upon an idea — the poached chicken. I loved this idea, as I could kill (no pun intended) two birds with one stone: I could have silky poultry to use throughout the week, and a head start on a batch of stock.

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Poaching a chicken is amazingly easy, and you can flavor the poaching water with whatever seasonings you want. I normally use whatever leftover herbs I have around the house, toss in an onion and chunks of celery and carrots, and let the water come to a boil. Once the water is at a rolling boil, I plunge the whole chicken into the pot, cover it with a lid, turn off the heat, and forget about it. Simple. The meat comes out silky smooth, and the beginning to a big pot of stock is underway.

After the chicken is poached, I let it cool, and then remove all the meat from the carcass. I like to separate the white and dark meat for different recipes, but feel free to toss it all into a bowl. I return all the chicken skin and bones to the pot of broth and put it into the refrigerator until the next day. The next day, I skim off the fatty layer, and then I add chopped onion and some carrots and celery, and let it simmer away for most of the day. Later, I put it back into the refrigerator, then skim off the fatty layer once again, and strain the mixture. What is left is a rich stock that I freeze in small containers to use at a later time.

So one week I decided to poach a chicken and see what wonderful meals I could create throughout the week. I started with a 5 ½-pound free-range chicken, and I used cilantro, onions, celery, and black cardamom in my poaching broth. The chicken was incredibly moist and flavorful, and the stock that was made after poaching was heavenly.

Enjoy these amazing dishes throughout the week. All of the recipes serve four people. There was some chicken meat leftover, so I put it into the freezer for another time, thinking it would be great in a bit pot of soup or chili. 

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