I am a beginner cook, freshly out of college, and would like to make a chicken pot pie. The recipe calls for cooked chicken. I have noticed that in other recipes as well. How are you supposed to cook chicken when a recipe calls for cooked chicken? I have heard of poaching before, but I am not really sure what that is. Thanks!!
They just mean don't use raw. Cook it however you like, or use leftover which is traditional for pot pie.
You can use a variety of ways but don't ever boil it. Boiling makes chicken rubbery.
You can take a pot, put the chicken in it, fill with water to cover the chicken by an inch, throw some salt in the water (and other stuff if you want, like garlic, bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion, etc). Bring just to a boil and then tunr down the heat to a simmer, meaning that you only have very small, gentle bubbles forming.
Simmer until done, which will take about 15 min or so for a boneless skinless breast. Make sure not to overcook, especially since it'll cook a bit more in the hot pie filling.
I like to roast it and use leftovers. Roasting is pretty easy - just grab yourself a thermometer. I like to spatchcock (split it open throught the backbone) so it cooks faster and i get all crispy skin, but you can do it round (don't have to cut it open), at 400 degrees.
Easiest is to use a deli rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and take the meat off.
Roasting a chicken is the way I like to prepare cooked chicken for pot pies, casseroles, salads, etc. because the skin keeps the chicken meat moist. Very easy, preheat oven to 425, place aromatics like piece of onion, celery, or 1/2 lemon inside chicken cavity. In low sided greased roasting pan, lay chicken breast side down. Sprinkle with s&p, tarragon, couple T lemon juice or white wine, paprika and garlic (if you like that). Can vary tarragon with rosemary as alternative. Roast 3 1/2 lb. chicken for 25 min back side up. Turn over, season breast, baste and roast another 25 min until meat thermometer is 160 in breast and 170 in thigh.
HOWEVER, if roasting a chicken is not in your plan or you don't have the patience or time, pick up a rotisserie chicken from your favorite market. Remove the skin, pull chicken off the bone, shred into pieces. A 3 1/2 lb. chicken yields about 4 cups of cooked shredded chicken meat. Report back on your experience - good luck!
I concor with the other posters that I would usually roast my own chicken or poach chicken breasts to use for making a pot pie. however, i feel your pain as I remember when these two skills were beyond my time and patience. you can certainly make a good pot pie w/ a store bought rotisserie chicken or if you have a foreman grill or reg grill i would take chicken thighs - don't dry as quickly, more flavour - season w/ salt and pepper and then throw those on and cook. shred the meat by pulling apart w/ two strudy forks.
Learning2, easiest options for obtaining cooked chicken are: 1) Put some boneless skinless chicken breasts in a pan, barely cover them with water, and cook until you can easily stick a fork in the chicken (about half an hour). Variants: add salt, celery, onion, etc to the water, and/or instead of water use broth that comes in a carton. If you do all that you probably won't want to discard the cooking liquid and can use it in your pot pie gravy. 2) Buy a rotisseried chicken at the supermarket and harvest its meat. 3) Speaking retrospectively, have had roast chicken a couple of days ago and use the leftover meat.
Learning2, cooking isn't a big deal. Don't be intimidated. For centuries people have considered it a regular daily part of life management. Lately it has become a vehicle for showing off. You don't have to do a lot of fancy stuff. Remember the KISS rule.
If you're just out of college, money is probably an issue. Buying chicken parts is an extravagance. Looks for whole chickens on sale and keep roasting them until you get it right. This is a skill that is worth acquiring early on. Eat your favorite part for the first meal, Make pot pies ofrcasseroles from the leftovers, and be sure to make stock from the carcass. When you have the money, move up to a local, free-range chicken.
Chicken thighs will work really well for pot pie. To poach place in water and simmer without coming to a full boil. If you bring the water to the temperature of the final meat temperature you can hold it there for quite a while without over cooking. Thighs will stay very moist and tender. Boneless chicken breast has a tendency to dry out. The last time I made pot pie I used a bunch of leg quarters which are really cheap. Poached until done and then boned and cleaned then used in the pot pie.