I went home to Philadelphia this weekend to see my mom.
“Now, I want to respect your diet,” she said to me on the phone before I left, “so let me know what kind of food I need to have in the house for you.”
“Chicken,” I said, “and oatmeal and eggs.”
“That’s easy. Now, how do you want me to cook the chicken?” she asked. “I mean, how to you do it, typically?”
“I just put it in a pot with some water and-”
“- boil the hell out of it?” she asked.
I have now learned that this was the okay but not really tasty way to make my chicken every week. So here’s what I learned from Mom:
How Not To Prepare Your Chicken
1. Put chicken in a pot with salted water and boil until you think it’s done.
How To Properly Poach Your Chicken
1. Purchase bone-in chicken breasts with skin
2. Rinse the breasts and place in a pot of water – just enough to cover the top of the chicken.
3. Add one carrot, sliced into carrot coins
4. Add one celery stalk, aromatic celery leaves included
5. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper, dried basil and especially thyme. If you have a bay leaf, add one.
6. Turn the water on medium heat and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce heat and let the chicken simmer for about 45 minutes.
8. When the chicken is done, allow it to sit in the water for up to 20 minutes if time allows.
9. De-bone the chicken and enjoy
I would have taken a photo of the lovely poached chicken; however, I ate it all before I could. But here is a photo of my mom today as we waited for my train back to New York.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me that there is more than one way to cook a chicken.
Happy Mother’s Day!