Traditionally, whole chicken is poached in stock on top of the stove. The chicken is wrapped in parchment before it is submerged in the stock and simmered very slowly. In this recipe, marinated chicken breasts are poached in the oven, a gentle method ideal for smaller pieces of chicken. This dish is particularly refreshing in hot weather, served with a well-chilled dry rose such as Le Petit Faux from Preston Vineyards of Dry Creek Valley.
4 skinless and boneless chicken breast halves, 6 to 8 ounces each
Black pepper in a mill
8 sprigs of cilantro
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons strawberry vinegar or red raspberry vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
1-1/2 cups Strawberry Salsa (see recipe in book), or any salsa
1 pint fresh strawberries
Place the chicken breasts in a shallow bowl and season them with salt and several turns of pepper. Add 4 of the cilantro sprigs. Mix together the olive oil, garlic, and vinegar, and pour the mixture over the chicken breasts. Marinate the chicken, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.
About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375F.
Bring the stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Place the chicken in a baking dish, and pour the stock over the chicken. Bake the chicken, uncovered, for 12 minutes, or until it is just barely done. Remove from the oven, and let the chicken cool in the stock. Transfer the chicken to a plate, cover, and refrigerate for one hour.
To serve, place the chicken on individual plates. Spoon salsa over each portion, garnish with a sprig of cilantro and some strawberries, and serve immediately.
Use lemon juice in place of the vinegar in the marinade.
From: California Home Cooking
by Michele Anna Jordan
Harvard Common Press
$16.95 paperback, ISBN: 1-55832-119-5
$29.95 hardcover, ISBN: 1-55832-118-7
illustrated, 528 pages, 1997
Recipes and photos reprinted by permission.
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