Two Spoonfuls: H2O
This week Alton and I are tackling the exciting world of water!!!
Did that sound enthusiastic? Believe it or not – Alton really does get excited about the process of cooking with water: Boiling, Poaching, Simmering, Blanching and Steaming; all get thoroughly discussed in chapter 5 of I’m Just Here For The Food. For this week’s cook-along with Alton, I decided to skip over Boiling (we’ve all boiled something, haven’t we?) and instead, delved into the technique of Poaching. I have poached chicken many times. It seems that every cook has their own steps for poaching, and basically they all work. I like poaching chicken because I am completely in control of what is added to it. I can toss in a little salt, to heighten the flavor, or leave it out for the ultimate in healthy protein.
Alton fancies his chicken up a bit by adding white wine, peppercorns and bay leaves.
I have to say – this was the most moist poached chicken I’ve ever made.
The recipe is super easy and yields alot of chicken.
*This would be especially good to make on a chilly afternoon,
as the chicken poaches away for over an hour and warms your kitchen nicely.
But then the question remains:
What do I do with all this delicious chicken I just poached?
Well, in his book Alton gives several suggestions.
The one I followed was to simmer the chicken in my favorite barbecue sauce. Very simple. I bought some whole wheat rolls, a jar of pickle spears, our favorite chips and wa-la! A fun summertime dinner that Josh and I both loved.
I still have chicken left over, so I’ll be trying some of Alton’s other suggestions in the next couple days.
Alton defines Poaching as:
“Cooking food gently in liquid that has been heated until the surface just begins to quiver”
(or, just below a simmer.)
Alton’s steps for perfect poaching:
1. Start with liquid at a boil (this will kill surface bacteria).
2. Drop water temperature to final desired temperature of the meat (that way, the food never overcooks).
Fun facts about water from Alton’s book:
Distilled Water: is pure H2O. Everything else has been removed.
Natural Sparkling Water: is naturally carbonated spring water or spring water that has gone flat and been recarbonated.
Club Soda, Seltzer, Soda Water: are all classified as soft drinks, not bottled water: they are essentially tap water that’s been manipulated by man.
Bottled Water that says “Purified Water” or “Drinking Water”: is water that’s come from a municipal source (the tap).
“Glacial Water”: must by law come from a glacier.
“Naturally Sparkling Water”: must come from a spring, with bubbles.
Hard Water: is water that has absorbed CO2 (becoming acidic), then comes into contact with minerals.
Soft Water: is water that is relatively free of dissolved solids.
Poaching a whole chicken is a healthy, economical way to feed your family. You don’t have to use a bottle of wine, you can poach using chicken stock and water, or even just salted water. The resulting pulled chicken meat can be served over greens or made into chicken salad.
Now, lets see what’s going on over in Ginny’s Kitchen.
Jenn : )