Lunch Box: Make-Ahead Coconut-Poached Chicken with Spring Vegetables and Cashews


[Photograph: Suzanne Lehrer]

Without a grill, making chicken breast not taste bland or dry can seem like something of an uphill battle. Poaching is a successful antidote; the chicken won't get a brown crust, but it will become more tender than you knew a chicken breast could be. While it's still warm, you can shred it with two forks as you would braised thigh meat, making it ideal for tossing into salads or sandwiches.

Another benefit of poaching is that it's a quick way to infuse flavor into your meat when you don't have time for a lengthy marinade. I used coconut milk here, then dressed the napa cabbage, and blanched asparagus and string beans with a simple soy sauce vinaigrette for flavor contrast. The vegetables held their brightness and flavor overnight and had the added bonus of looking like I opened a garden for lunch on a rainy day.

About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. Follow her recipes and cooking adventures at and on twitter @the_suzchef