Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cold Poached Chicken with Ginger-Scallion Oil

I had some leftover chicken from Grazin' Angus in the freezer that I wanted to use, but didn't want something that required turning on my oven.  Incidentally when I passed the GA stand at the market this past weekend I saw that someone had scrawled across their whiteboard that GA had provided the meat for the Clinton-Mezvinsky wedding.  I felt like a celebrity, for no good or logical reason.

Flipping through my Gourmet cookbook, I found a recipe for cold poached chicken with ginger scallion oil.  Sounded puuurrrfect for a hot summer day.  In order to write this post I looked up the recipe on Epicurious, and it was originally published for 2 people, and the ingredients were doubled for the cookbook, for 4 servings (who needed me to point that out, that 2x2 is 4?).  I'm listing the ingredient amounts for 4 servings.

The recipe in the cookbook called for rice wine, sake, or medium-dry Sherry (for those of us who are desperate and don't have rice wine, or found ourselves desperate a few nights ago and drank all the sake in the house).  The original magazine recipe, from 1996, called for medium-dry Sherry or...Scotch. Hehehehe I don't know why but I think that's so funny.  Guess rice wine and sake weren't as available back then.

For poached chicken
  • 4 cups water
  • eight 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup rice wine, sake or medium-dry Sherry
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) (I had a drumstick and a bone-in chicken breast half, which altogether probably weighed 1.5 pounds, so without the bones my recipe was a bit smaller)

For ginger scallion oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used safflower oil because I didn't have veg oil)
  • 4 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp minced scallion
  • 2 tsp Asian sesame oil

4 servings

First, I made the ginger-scallion oil ingredients, which contained...ginger, scallion and oil.  I also put in a sprinkle of of salt.

Stir and let sit while cooking the chicken.

Combine 4 cups water, ginger, salt, and rice wine/sake/Sherry in a 3- or 4- quart saucepan.  You don't want to cook it in a vessel that's too big/wide, because you want the chicken to be submerged in the liquid.  The recipe said to use a 3-quart saucepan--I was like ppssh I'll use my 4-quart casserole pan because I like it, and the chicken was just *barely* submerged and I had to flip it in the middle of the cooking time.  So when I said "or 4-quart saucepan" at the beginning of this paragraph, it was completely self-serving--go ahead and used the prescribed 3 quart to make life a little easier.  

Bring the poaching liquid to boil, then gently place chicken in pan and lower heat.  The recipe says to simmer for about 6 minutes.  However, like I said, I wasn't using small chicken breasts but rather one hulking half, on the bone, as well as a drumstick, on the bone.  It was kind of touch and go, but I simmered it for about 12 minutes.

After the simmer, take pan off heat, cover and let stand for about 10 minutes.  At least that's what the recipe said--again for me I had to let it sit longer in the covered pan.  I'd tell you how long except that things really started getting haphazard. I noticed the drumstick was still pink at the center, and I went back for some more simmering and standing.  Whatever you need to do.  Just don't eat pink chicken.

Remove chicken from liquid, discard poaching liquid. Then transfer chicken to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  That is, unless you're like me, who's lazy and impatient, who enjoys the sensation of singing her fingers to a raw red state and manhandles the chicken once the chicken has cooled from "nuclear" to "incredibly hot".  Slice and serve with ginger-scallion oil to sprinkle on top.  Note: I shredded the chicken instead of slicing because I didn't want to pull out the cutting board again.

I served with jasmine rice and bok choy quickly sauteed and braised with a little oil and oyster sauce.*

You're having the pleasure of yet again seeing one of Mina's creations in a lovely Tupperware frame. Nothing says yum like plastic. But really, this was very good and I recommend it. I am tempted to recommend adding a wee bit more salt to the poaching liquid, but don't tell Kevin I said that.


*For the bok choy, I used about 16 small baby bok choy heads--they were pretty small, and weighed about a little over a pound total.  This stuff really cooks down so feel free to cook more than that.  I cut off the ends, separated the leaves, and washed them.  To cook, it's the same old thing--heat up a few tsp of oil (you can put garlic/ginger/red pepper flakes if you like), throw in trimmed, cleaned bok choy leaves (I left the leaves whole but you can slice) and toss in oil with about 2 tsp of oyster sauce (you can start off with less and add more later).  Add a few tsp of water (or don't), cover, lower heat and simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Really doesn't need much time.  

I also thickened the sauce at the end with a small cornstarch slurry (tsp of conrstarch mixed with 2 tsp or so of cooking liquid in a small bowl, poured into pot while stirring, and cooked for about a minute). But you can just use the unadulterated juices to mix and meld with the rice. tada.


  1. I love baby bok choy and I don't make it enough. And, I do think your plasticware is super fancy.

  2. that chicken looks delectable. I'm all drooly.

  3. I am drooling over your recipe posts. Drooling.

  4. This sounds so delish! I'm intrigued by the ginger scallion oil!