This recipe will have the best result if the skin is left on the chicken, and the bones are not removed, until after poaching. The skin helps to keep the chicken moist, and the bones add flavor. After poaching, the skin and bones are easy to remove and discard (and no additional calories have been added to the chicken meat, in case you’re wondering.)
This recipe is meant for poaching chicken breasts (buy the plumpest ones you can find). If dark meat chicken pieces (such as thighs) are used instead, simmer them in the cooking liquid very gently for about 3-4 minutes before removing the pan from heat – otherwise follow the directions below.
Place chicken breasts in a wide shallow pan (which has a lid), and add enough chicken broth (or a combination of chicken broth and water) to completely cover the chicken by an inch or so. [NOTE: If desired, you may add a slice or two of fresh ginger and/or a fresh, trimmed green onion (scallion) or two, or other herbs or seasonings for added flavor. The addition is entirely optional - it may or may not be appropriate for the use(s) you plan for the chicken.]
Over medium heat, without covering the pan, bring the liquid in the pan just to the simmer. With a large spoon, move the chicken breasts around a bit to be sure each piece is completely surrounded by liquid. When the liquid just begins to boil, cover the pan, and immediately turn off the heat. (See the second paragraph above if dark meat chicken pieces are used.) Allow the covered pan to stand undisturbed for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from liquid (broth may be strained and frozen for future use) and remove and discard the skin and bones, if any, from the chicken breasts, (also discard the scallions and ginger if used).
The chicken is now fully cooked and moist throughout. It may be used immediately, or stored (before or after skinning and boning) in the refrigerator for about 3 days and used in any recipe, shredded, cut in chunks, or however you desire.
COOKS NOTE: The secret to this moist poached chicken, is to NEVER allow the cooking liquid to boil – which would make the chicken dry and stringy. When beginning the recipe (before you get to the part where you cover the pan, and remove it from the heat) it is a good idea to stand over it, and keep a careful watch.