NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 15: Chef Andrew Zimmern attends the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One - Grand Tasting featuring Culinary Demonstrations presented by Liebherr Appliances on October 15, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
Andrew Zimmern's Trick For Perfectly Juicy Poached Chicken
By Garth Clingingsmith
You may find poached chicken to be a bit tasteless, but it was a mainstay of many worldwide cuisines long before it garnered a reputation for being bland. Interestingly, Andrew Zimmern, the celebrity chef who became famous for daringly eating just about anything on "Bizarre Foods," has strong feelings about plain old poached chicken, as well as some useful advice about it.
Zimmern shares, "When poaching a chicken, drop a whole bird in boiling stock and cook, lowering to maintain a simmer for 60 seconds and turn off the heat. 90 minutes later it will be perfect. Just cover and let it steep in the hot liquid." That long gentle bath ensures the breasts don’t overcook and dry out, while getting the dark meat to cook through and become tender.
For his Hainanese Chicken Rice recipe, Zimmern incorporates scallions, ginger, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon into the broth and prepares three simple-to-make but complex dipping sauces while the chicken poaches. He then serves those components with the rice that's received a spoonful of chicken fat decanted from the poaching liquid.
The best part of this method is the broth you’ll be left with after you separate the perfectly juicy poached chicken. Zimmern recommends freezing this broth, and using it later to poach another chicken — after that, you will have an extra-intense broth for your next soup.