Poule au Pot

KevinRecipesLeave a Comment

Poached chicken, thanks to a comment from Yen about what to do with a chicken that you forgot in your trunk overnight. It may sound boring, but to me, it’s classic comfort-food. Like roast chicken, but more ‘plain’. Perhaps more ‘subtle’ would be a kinder adjective. On the left, my mis en place. I admit, easy for me, as nearly all of it is from the garden. If I had to go buy it all, it’d be a pain in the butt. Yet another reason to grow your own. It empowers your laziness. Plus, knowing how to break down a whole chicken helps – but is not required. Just buy pieces to keep it easier. It’s just that, well, I’m a cheap ass. And it’s cheaper to buy them whole.

When doing this dish, I think ‘stock’, as it uses the same principles. I’ve studied my share of stock making techniques. CIA’s, Bourdain’s, Pepin’s, and even Escoffier’s. And from my experience, the trick is proper heat.

Remember, it’s a poach – not a simmer. The odd bubble should break every few seconds, but it should not boil. This is not my innovation. But it’s important, and worth repeating. So whatever it takes to make this happen, that’s how high your heat should be.

When is it done? It will take all that cold stuff a long time to come up to temperature. Do not fear. I figure it takes about an hour and a half with a big bird, before you’re in the realm of doneness . One could also have a good idea by the fact that the cooking fluid [now stock] goes yellowish, and starts to smell fantastic. I have photos below so you have a visual of how that evolves. But in all honesty, I’ve resorted to probe thermometering a the bone area of the leg quarter – just to be sure.


1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 sprig of fresh sage
2 bay leaves
a handfull of carrot
a couple baby parsnips [just cause I could]a handful of large dice celery [but I didn’t have any]1 tbsp salt [not critical, you’ll have to tweak salt later anyway]1 tsp whole black peppercorns
Enough cold water to completely submerge it all [4L did the trick this time]

Put everything into a big enough pot to handle it all. Turn onto medium heat to start bringing the whole thing up to temperature. Follow my rules above about temperature and doneness. When done, pull out the meat, strain the great resulting chicken stock, and use as you wish! I made a quick gravy out of the stock, mashed some garden potatoes and chive – but you could take the product of this comfort-food-fest in a variety of directions. And if you have any suggestions on how, please share.

my lunch

as it heats, it will hit a ‘murky phase’

as it approaches doneness, the fluid will become golden yellow

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