Why It Works
- Starting the chicken in room-temperature water and then cooking it at a gentle heat keeps the flesh tender and juicy.
- An aromatic poaching liquid with scallion, ginger, and salt becomes a tasty broth for sipping.
Poached chicken may not be as popular as fried, roasted, and braised chicken, but when it's done correctly, its tenderness and juiciness are unmatched. Served with a bright, flavorful dressing like this miso vinaigrette, it makes an easy, light, clean-tasting dinner or lunch.
- 2 quarts (2L) room-temperature water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (15g) kosher salt
- 2 medium skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds; 680g)
- 1 whole scallion, root end trimmed, plus thinly sliced scallion for garnish
- 1 (2-inch) knob peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) white miso
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) toasted sesame oil
- 7 ounces watercress (200g; about 2 quarts, loosely packed)
- Warm cooked rice, for serving
In a large saucepan, combine water and salt, stirring to dissolve salt. Add chicken, scallion, and ginger and set over medium-high heat until water temperature reaches between 150 and 160°F on an instant-read thermometer; adjust heat to maintain water temperature in the 150–160°F range. (It's okay if the temperature bounces around a little, but try to keep it above 150 and below 170°F.) Cook until thickest part of chicken registers 150°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Remove chicken from broth and let rest. Strain broth through a fine-mesh strainer and save for sipping or another use.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, miso, soy sauce, and sesame oil until smooth. In a medium bowl, toss watercress with just enough miso dressing to lightly coat.
Remove and discard chicken skin and cut chicken meat from bones; discard bones. Slice chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Scoop rice into bowls and top with watercress and chicken slices. Drizzle miso vinaigrette onto chicken and garnish with sliced scallions. Serve.
Instant-read thermometer, fine-mesh strainer