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Poached chicken for chicken salad - best way to season

fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 05:00 PM

Do you season the poaching water for chicken salad? I plan to make a simple mix with shredded poached chicken, mayo, celery, onion, salt and pepper, dijon.

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  1. shaogo RE: fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 05:03 PM

    I put some dried herbs (usually tarragon and lavender) in a tea ball to scent the water. I also use an onion and some scraps of celery if I have 'em. Boil these, then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken slooooowly.

    5 Replies
    1. re: shaogo
      magiesmom RE: shaogo Nov 15, 2013 05:07 PM

      I use ginger and garlic, just a little. A poached chicken to me means putting a whole chicken in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil , cover , turn off, let sit for an hour and then it is done.

      1. re: magiesmom
        c oliver RE: magiesmom Nov 15, 2013 05:09 PM

        I've never used anything but these sound interesting. I do breasts by putting them in a pot and covering with water. Bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat. In 15-20 minutes they're ready. Both what you and I do I learned from the Frugal Gourmet.

        1. re: c oliver
          magiesmom RE: c oliver Nov 15, 2013 05:17 PM

          We are dark meat eaters so we like to do the a whole bird.

          1. re: c oliver
            meatn3 RE: c oliver Nov 16, 2013 10:05 AM

            I use Jeff Smith's method too. The resulting chicken is so succulent and delicious that people can't believe it was so simply prepared!

        2. re: shaogo
          BangorDin RE: shaogo Nov 16, 2013 10:27 AM

          Had to google lavender in chicken salad, and yes, with lemon and or honey there are some recipes. I was surprised, and glad to read that care should be taken to go easy, avoiding a perfume situation!

        3. j
          jaykayen RE: fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 05:09 PM

          dry brine or marinate overnight.

          1. boogiebaby RE: fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 05:12 PM

            I just use salt and whole peppercorns. I like the chicken bland so I can add flavor with the other ingredients or use the chicken in something else. More versatile that way.

            1. s
              sedimental RE: fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 05:19 PM

              This will sound really esoteric and foodie-elitist, but hey, it' s Chowhound!

              I think poaching chicken in a Chinese master stock is the best. I have had my chicken master stock for over 5 years now. Even giant tasteless Frankenbreasts come out fabulous. I highly recommend it. It only takes a mason jar sized space in the freezer. Well worth it.

              4 Replies
              1. re: sedimental
                goodeatsgal RE: sedimental Nov 15, 2013 10:57 PM

                What is a Chinese master stock?

                1. re: goodeatsgal
                  sedimental RE: goodeatsgal Nov 16, 2013 06:59 AM

                  It is a stock that is flavored each time it is used, and it is used over and over for years. Some are decades old. Within a short time, anything poached in it comes out with a savory, umami goodness. They are protein specific so it is not good to use a chicken one with a beef or vegetable one.

                  I keep mine in the freezer, reduced for easy storage. I like my chicken master stock to be flavored more heavily with garlic, mushrooms, and bay. But you can change the flavor at any time by throwing different herbs and spices in the pot. It should eventually be balanced so you can't pick out just one flavor -it just tastes savory.

                  1. re: sedimental
                    c oliver RE: sedimental Nov 16, 2013 08:28 AM

                    I'd never heard of that. Sounds really interesting.

                    1. re: sedimental
                      hotoynoodle RE: sedimental Nov 16, 2013 08:31 AM

                      i do not like poached chicken but keep a beef broth just like this in my freezer. takes braises and stews to a whole new level.

                2. chefj RE: fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 06:57 PM

                  A simple Court-bouillon will do nicely.
                  Onion, Carrot, Celery, Parsley, a few Peppercorns, a couple of Cloves and Bay Leaf.
                  If you have any of these just lying around, Mushroom Stems, Leek Tops, White Wine are all welcome additions to the party.
                  Other flavors are up to you but since you are making a fairly straight forward Salad I would avoid Asian Flavors like Ginger, Garlic, Soy Etc..........

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chefj
                    chefathome RE: chefj Nov 16, 2013 09:10 AM

                    I agree. To my Court-bouillon I love to add crushed juniper berries simply as I enjoy the flavour.

                    1. re: chefj
                      fldhkybnva RE: chefj Nov 16, 2013 06:31 PM

                      Thanks for the suggestion. I did a lazy poach with bouillon powder. I've had it in my cabinet forever and never use it, it worked out great. At least the chicken tastes great, I'm not planning to make salad until tomorrow.

                    2. n
                      nlgardener RE: fldhkybnva Nov 15, 2013 11:09 PM

                      I've stopped poaching and started roasting my chicken for chicken salad (and other recipes using cooked chicken breast meat) after watching Ina Garten make chicken salad on the Food Network. I buy bone-in, skin on breasts halves, trim them of excess fat, brush lightly with olive oil, then salt and pepper. Into a 350 oven for about 40 minutes. The meat is tender and juicy. I like the texture and flavor. Easy to pull off the skin and bones while still a bit warm.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nlgardener
                        magiesmom RE: nlgardener Nov 16, 2013 03:46 AM

                        Really? I adore poached chicken!

                      2. s
                        Springhaze2 RE: fldhkybnva Nov 16, 2013 09:11 AM

                        At the very least I use chicken stock instead of water to poach chicken. I often add and onion, some celery, a carrot, parsley and thyme or fresh dill. (I like fresh dill for chicken salad.)

                        I also use the technique of bringing the chicken and cold stock to a boil, cover and turning off the heat to let sit until done.

                        1. greygarious RE: fldhkybnva Nov 16, 2013 01:33 PM

                          I poach in broth made with Better Than Bouillon, and add Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute. If doing just a breast or two, I use the microwave. Heat the water enough to dissolve the base, add the chicken and seasoning, nuke to simmer, shut off and cover. Let it steep for a half hour. Save the enhanced broth to use for inclusion when making stock or chicken soup.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: greygarious
                            sedimental RE: greygarious Nov 16, 2013 06:29 PM

                            Thanks! Good ideas there. I make soup weekly for my lunches (from leftover bits and extra veg) and I always look to repurpose or multipurpose food items for lunch. Quick poaching stock like this is perfect for that :)

                          2. Seeker19104 RE: fldhkybnva Nov 16, 2013 07:06 PM

                            Wondering if I can poach a large turkey thigh by using cold water start, bringing to boil, and letting it sit??

                            That's so easy!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Seeker19104
                              hotoynoodle RE: Seeker19104 Nov 17, 2013 07:15 AM

                              you'll want to remove the skin and cut the thighs into smallish pieces, but, yes, you can do it this way.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                Seeker19104 RE: hotoynoodle Nov 17, 2013 12:20 PM


                            2. ipsedixit RE: fldhkybnva Nov 16, 2013 07:11 PM

                              Do you season the poaching water for chicken salad?


                              6 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                fldhkybnva RE: ipsedixit Nov 16, 2013 10:30 PM

                                Just out of curiously, how do you make your chicken salad, ipsedixit?

                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                  ipsedixit RE: fldhkybnva Nov 17, 2013 10:55 AM

                                  Usually start with canned chicken in spring water.

                                  Then it's a blend of nonfat yogurt, dijon mustard, horseradish powder, lime juice, sweet relish, and salt and white pepper to taste.

                                  And recently, if I can find it, I will put diced cucamelons into my chicken salad.

                                  What are "cucamelons" you say? I say, see here: http://nymag.com/restaurants/features...

                                  (Might also add chopped walnuts, depending on the audience or mood).

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    meatn3 RE: ipsedixit Nov 17, 2013 11:12 AM

                                    I recently discovered some wild cucumbers which look and taste like this at my brothers home in Florida. I love the flavor so I saved some seeds - hope they will grow for me next year!


                                    1. re: meatn3
                                      ipsedixit RE: meatn3 Nov 17, 2013 11:26 AM


                                      Hope they grow. Keep us posted. Good luck.

                                    2. re: ipsedixit
                                      fldhkybnva RE: ipsedixit Nov 17, 2013 11:44 AM

                                      Sounds tasty. I like the addition of horseradish. I also use yogurt.

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                        ipsedixit RE: fldhkybnva Nov 17, 2013 11:46 AM

                                        I will get bashed for this, but for me the chicken is the least important part of chicken salad.

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