Poach a Chicken, Be a Meal Prep All Star
I’ll admit it—poached chicken probably sounds like the least exciting thing in the world. I mean, it used to be that when I heard “poached chicken,” I pictured some colorless, drab piece of meat that’s served to old people in sad nursing homes who no longer have taste buds or appetites. Seriously. But, Glow Getters, I was so wrong.
While poached chicken is probably not winning any “dish of the year” awards on its own, let me tell you: Poached. Chicken. Rocks. I get so excited about poaching my weekly/bi-weekly chicken because it’s the lifeblood of my meal prep. Let me explain. Basically, you toss a whole chicken in a pot with some water and vegetables for a little over an hour, and what comes out is the base of almost every dish you make that week. Are you getting excited yet? You should be.
The benefits of poaching a chicken are two-fold: succulent, flavorful shredded meat that can be used in just about every recipe that calls for a random protein, and a delicious, all natural chicken broth to be used in soups, cooking grains, sipping, or any other purpose you see fit. I use the chicken in all types of ways, from chicken salads and topping regular salads, to simmering in curry sauces and chicken soups (which I’ve cooked with my broth). Really, Glow Getters, the possibilities are endless. So, let’s get into how we make this meal prep staple, shall we?
- Whole Chicken (preferably free range, organic)
- 4-5 carrots
- 3-4 celery stalks (leaves and all!)
- 1 whole onion
- 1 bulb of garlic, smashed (I just really like garlic. If you only have a few cloves, that's fine too)
- Handful of whole peppercorns (about 20 or so)
- Fresh herbs (I seem to always have thyme, rosemary, and sage on hand)
- Salt (I go with a tablespoon, but preferences will vary)
- Large Stockpot
- Knife/Cutting Board
- Roughly chop your vegetables (and I do mean roughly, no need to get fancy here) and toss them in the pot with the peppercorns, herbs, and salt.
- Rinse your chicken (optional!) and place it in the pot on top of the vegetables.
- Fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken. I like to give it a good stir here for the fun of it. Cover with tight fitting lid.
- Bring pot to boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Let this chill here for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Chicken will be done when it reaches 160 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.
- Remove chicken to a bowl to cool for 10-20 minutes, then remove meat from bones and shred with two forks.
- Strain resulting broth into a bowl for through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.
That's it! You're free to use your delicious chicken and broth as you see fit. Go crazy with it! Let me know what delicious recipes you come up with in the comments below, and I'll share a few of mine on the blog.
Almost forgot, PRO TIP! Instead of chopping up fresh veggies for this every time, save your vegetable ends that you've used throughout the week from other recipes in a freezer bag and pull it out when it's time to poach your chicken. The (clean) ends of celery, carrots and onion are great for this purpose. Waste not, want not!