Lauren Groveman a recipe for delicious living

Poached Chicken in the Pot and Mustard Sauce

(March 8, 2007)
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Rob asked Lauren:

The other day, in a restaurant, I had a really good lunch that consisted of poached chicken and boiled potatoes. The sauce was so simple but so good and it reminded me of tartar sauce only it was perfectly smooth. I would love to know how to make it since my wife will often poach chicken at home but she always serves it in hot broth with cooked vegetables (she calls it "chicken in the pot"). I found that eating poached chicken chilled, instead of hot, to be a totally different eating experience and yet equally satisfying. Thanks for your help.

Lauren says...

Oh, Rob, poached chicken is one of my most favorite meals! Poaching chicken, when done correctly, leaves the meat incredibly succulent. The cooking technique is exactly the same, whether serving the chicken hot, bathed in broth with tender aromatic vegetables, or chilled, sitting next to a delicious dollop of mustard sauce. So, here's my recipe for both, Poached Chicken in the Pot and Mustard Sauce. Eat up!

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Poached Chicken

Yield: serves 4 to 6

Poached Chicken

Here lies my recipe for perfectly succulent poached chicken, served either in hot broth with tender vegetables or chilled with some piquant Mustard Sauce (recipe follows). Any time you read that I've suggested a tool or a piece of equipment or a culinary term that's unfamiliar, go to Kitchen Management for more information.

    Special Equipment:

  • 8-quart Dutch-oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid
    For Poaching the Chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled, scrubbed, root end removed, and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, cleaned and sliced with leaves
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
  • 2 parsnips, scrubbed and sliced, optional
  • ˝ bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Cold water to cover
  • 2 whole chickens (3 to 3 ½ pounds each), halved down the back with the necks and gizzards (no liver), rinsed and dried

1) To poach the chicken: Place all of listed ingredients, except the chickens, into a 6-to 8-quart pot and add enough cold water to fill the pot half way. Cover pot and bring liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the vegetables (along with the gizzards and neck of the chickens) until they render most of their flavor, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Uncover the pot and ease in the chickens. Raise the heat to high, just to bring the liquid back up to a soft bubble, then reduce the heat to very low, cover the pot and simmer the chickens just until tender, but not at all dry, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and take off the lid. Allow the chickens to cool in the broth for at least an hour which encourages the meat to settle down and to reabsorb some of the flavorful broth. The chicken can be chilled in the broth and, if wanting to serve the chicken hot or warm, reheated. If wanting to serve the chicken chilled, use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken to a large bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

2) To defat the broth: Strain the chicken broth and discard the solids. Chill the broth, covered, for 24 hours. Uncover and remove any fat that has risen to the top of the gelatinized broth. Ration the broth to plastic containers of different sizes and store in the freezer.

Note: If you want to serve the chicken hot with the broth, you'll need to allow the time to de-fat the liquid used to poach the chicken. I would also include some more fresh vegetables. To do this: After removing the poached chicken and straining out the original vegetables, chill the broth and the chicken separately. Once the fat has congealed and risen to the top of the broth, remove the fat as described above. When ready to serve, reheat the broth fully, over medium heat. Either, add the vegetables directly to the hot broth or sauté them first in a bit of melted butter, just until slightly softened. After adding the vegetables to the broth, bring the liquid back up to full bubble, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the vegetables until they’re just tender, about 10 minutes. Now, add the poached chicken and let the mixture get piping hot, over low heat. Avoid re-cooking the chicken or it will be dry.

    Lauren Logo Timing is Everything

  • All of the vegetables to poach the chickens can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer, in a sealed plastic bag. No need to thaw, just dump them into the pot and add the water. Having said this, I would only add freshly sliced vegetables to the broth, after removing the fat, if intending to serve the vegetables as you would in soup (see the end of step # 2)


Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce

Yield: about 1 ½: cup

This creamy sauce with the distinctive flavor of Dijon mustard is not only perfect with sliced poached chicken, corned beef or glazed ham, but also with chilled stone crabs and cooked shrimp. If you have any left over, add some minced gherkins, yellow onions and capers, and you'll have yourself a delicious tartar sauce to serve alongside broiled, grilled or fried seafood!

    Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons strained fresh lemon juice (only when serving with seafood)
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper

1) To assemble the mustard sauce: In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Cover tightly and refrigerate until serving.

    Lauren Logo Timing is Everything

  • The mustard sauce can be made 2 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Leftovers will be good for a few days after that.


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Lauren Groveman recipes have been featured in many national magazines and local newspapers. Her books "The I love to Cook Book: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends" and "Lauren Groveman's Kitchen, Nurturing Food for Family and Friends" are available through Amazon.com.

For in depth information on Lauren Groveman as a writer, teacher, TV & radio host, as well as her recipes and cooking tips visit her website at www.laurengroveman.com

Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and blessed with three wonderful children.