A simple, yet elegant dish of chicken, gently poached in stock and white wine then drenched in a bath of herbs, olive oil and lemon juice.
If the thought of eating “poached chicken” sends you spiraling… well, I wouldn’t really blame you. Poached chicken could use some better PR. Luckily, I’m here to spread the word.
Properly-poached chicken (properly is KEY) is actually a wonderfully delicious thing. The trick is to gently simmer the chicken (never boil) over moderate heat. This gradual cooking process will lead to one of the most tender, juicy and perfectly cooked pieces of chicken you’ll ever eat.
To complete the dish, the chicken is sliced and then drenched in a simple, yet flavorful dressing made with olive oil, lemon and chopped herbs. Serve with Smashed Red Potatoes or Roasted Fingerling Potatoes for a complete meal.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Here’s everything needed to make this recipe: boneless, skinless chicken breast, chicken or vegetable stock, olive oil, lemon, scallion, and an assortment of fresh, leafy herbs like; parsley, chives, basil, dill, tarragon… etc.
Scroll to the bottom of the recipe card for ingredient notes and substitutions.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Simmer the Chicken
Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer. Carefully place the chicken breasts into the poaching liquid, making sure they are completely submerged. Bring the poaching liquid back up to a low simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken breasts steep in the poaching liquid for 20 minutes. Note: If your chicken breasts are thick, you may need to poach them for a longer period of time.
Step 2. Make the Dressing
While the chicken is steeping, whisk together the herb dressing.
Step 3. Serve
To Serve, remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and slice diagonally into 1-inch pieces . The meat should be cooked through and opaque throughout. Season with a generous pinch of salt then pour the dressing overtop. Serve immediately!
FAQs and Expert Tips
The main difference between poaching and boiling is temperature. Poaching is done at a lower temperature than boiling, typically between 140 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows for a gentler cooking process that preserves the flavor and texture of delicate foods, such as fish, eggs, and chicken breasts. Boiling, on the other hand, is done at a higher temperature, typically around 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This results in a more rapid cooking process that can toughen up delicate foods.
Yes, the poaching liquid can be strained and saved for later use in soups or sauces. After cooking, allow the liquid to cool then store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Check Out More Delicious Chicken Recipes:
I love to hear from readers and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. If you make this recipe be sure to leave a comment and/or give it a rating! Don’t forget to follow along on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest updates!
Perfectly Poached Chicken with Herbs and Olive Oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 8 oz each
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 3 whole green onion thinly sliced
- 1 loosely packed cup roughly chopped, fresh leafy herbs like; dill, parsley, chives, basil, mint, tarragon etc.
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Take chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Pour the chicken stock, water and wine into a high-sided saucepan. Add one tablespoon kosher salt.
- Pour the chicken stock, water and wine into a high-sided saucepan. Add one tablespoon kosher salt. Bring the poaching liquid to a boil then carefully place the chicken breasts into the broth, arranging them into a single even layer. The chicken breast should be well submerged with at least 1" of liquid above it. If you don't have enough liquid to cover, add more water. Bring the poaching liquid back up to a low simmer. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and leave the chicken in the pot, covered, for 20 minutes. Note: If your chicken breasts are very thick, you may need to poach them for a longer period of time.
- While the chicken is poaching, make the herby olive oil dressing. Place the chopped herbs and sliced green onion in a small mixing bowl. Pour in the olive oil, zest, and juice from half the lemon. Season with salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Once the chicken is cooked transfer it from the broth to a cutting board. Slice into 1-inch pieces and arrange on a platter and season lightly with salt. The meat should be cooked through and opaque throughout. Pour the herby olive oil mixture over top. Serve right away.
- Chicken: Aim for chicken breasts that are uniform in size and weight. Chicken breasts that weigh 6 to 8 ounces will give you the best results with poaching. Very large breasts cook unevenly, with the outside becoming overcooked by the time the center is done.
- Wine: Use a dry white wine like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol you can substitute extra chicken stock.
- Herbs: any fresh, leafy herbs will work: chives, parsley, cilantro, or mint are perfect. The more variety the better!
- Store poached chicken, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to four days or in the freezer for up the 3 months.