I used to be put off by poaching chicken as I feared it was more complicated than my simple fried version. But it’s actually much easier, because while the chicken poaches you can prepare the rest of the food. These days I often poach 3 or 4 chicken breasts at a time, then keep them in the fridge so I can toss them into salads over the following days. Poaching really helps to keep the moisture in the meat, so the end result is much more enjoyable than dried, overcooked chicken.
You’ll Need (serves 2)
For the dressing:
- 10 almonds (15g / 1 tablespoon), soaked
- 2 sprigs each of coriander, basil, parsley and tarragon, leaves picked and stalks set aside
- 1 small clove of garlic, peeled
- Sea salt
- 100ml olive oil
For the chicken:
- 2 x 150g chicken breasts
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed with skin on
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Handful (approx. 100g) of green beans
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 1 carrot
- 1 small courgette
- 6 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- For the dressing, drain and rinse the almonds in fresh cold water, then pound them with the herbs, the garlic clove and a little salt. Slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture, stirring to combine.
- For the chicken, put the chicken breasts into a pan of cold water with the reserved herb stalks (from the dressing), the garlic and the salt. Bring the water to a simmer, turn off the heat and immediately cover the pan. Allow the chicken to sit in the hot poaching liquor for 20 minutes, until cooked through.
- Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and blanch the green beans for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then cool under cold running water. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Preheat the grill. Shave the fennel bulb with a mandolin or peeler into this slices and do the same with the carrot and courgette. Add to the beans. Put the tomatoes on a non-stick baking sheet and under a preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Add to the bowl.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the poaching liquor. Thinly slice them and add to the bowl of vegetables. Toss together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken and vegetables between plates and serve with the herb dressing and lemon wedges.
This recipe appears in my book Cook. Nourish. Glow. (photo credit: Susan Bell)