Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Velvet Chicken

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

The "velvet" in the title alludes to the chicken's texture after it emerges from the pot. While some poached chicken recipes can come out stringy and tough, this one is cooked in a liquid that's barely simmering for 15 minutes. After that things get interesting. Instead of removing the chicken from the pot, it gets left in the liquid with the heat off for 45 minutes. The result is perfectly cooked chicken that's beautifully tender and aromatic thanks to a particularly flavorful cooking liquid.

The cooking liquid can do no wrong. It's made from soy sauce, ginger, scallion, clove, star anise, red chile, and Sichuan peppercorns, just to name a few of the ingredients. It's rich, aromatic, and lovingly seeps into every pore of the chicken over the course of its long bath.

But it's also good enough for all kinds of other uses. I tossed some cheap ramen in it for a side dish and used it to boil rice for lunch the next day. Think of this as a relative of Hainanese Chicken Rice. It's a chicken dish that keeps on giving.

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