For years I thought poached chicken breasts were one of the most boring things to eat. And then I was thinking about easy protein options that my boys might enjoy and I decided to challenge myself to master my poached chicken technique.
The result was this ‘pulled chicken’ which I’m finding myself making more and more frequently because the boys love it. And because I love it too!
The secrets to succulent poached chicken are:
1. Use the best quality chicken breasts you can afford. I get mine from the farmers market.
2. Cut the chicken breasts in half so they cook quicker and more evenly.
3. Allow chicken to rest after cooking.
4. Shred with your fingers instead of slicing. This somehow makes the texture magically more appealing.
Quick Pulled Chicken
- 2 small chicken breast fillets or more
Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise so they’ll cook quicker. Place chicken in a medium saucepan large enough to fit them in a single layer. Cover with cold salted water and bring to a gentle simmer.
Set your timer and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. You’re aiming for 73C (165F) when tested with a meat thermometer. Or when no longer pink in the middle if you cut through one to test.
Remove chicken from the pot with tongs and place in a clean bowl. I usually discard the poaching liquid but you could save it for soup as a light flavoured stock. Allow chicken to cool and rest for at least a few minutes or up to 30 minutes.
Using clean fingers or two forks, shred cooled chicken into bite sized chunks. Eat or refrigerate immediately.
WINE MATCH: A nice buttery chardonnay .
Recipes to Use Your Quick Pulled Chicken
- One Pot Chicken & Broccoli with Peanut & Lime Sauce
- Sunny Parisian Carrot Bowls
- Broccoli & Bacon Bowls
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Big Pea Bowls with Goats Cheese & Olives
- Big Bistro Kale Salad
Variations & Substitutions for Quick Pulled Chicken
chicken thigh fillets – normally I’m all about the chicken thighs because they have more flavour but for poached chicken I actually prefer the breast. If using thighs check for doneness after 5 minutes simmering
coconut chicken – poach in coconut cream instead of water. Keep coconut cream to use in other recipes.
extra flavour – use chicken stock instead of the water. Or feel free to add aromatics to the poaching liquid like chopped celery, carrot, onion, parsley, thyme or bay leaves. I generally don’t bother but I should!
Yes! Just poach chicken as per the recipe. Will keep in the fridge for 1 week or can be frozen. I like it best cold but you can reheat in a pan with a little butter or oil.