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Chinese Poached Chicken

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Rating: 5/5
3 reviews

ready in: 1-2 hrs
serves/makes:   4

recipe id: 13754
cook method: stovetop

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1 whole chicken


Fill a 12 quart kettle almost full of water and bring it to a boil. Place 1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds, in the boiling water. The water will stop boiling in just a moment or so. Using wooden spoons so that you do not tear the skin, remove the chicken from the water and place it on a tray. Cover the pot and bring the water back to a boil. Put the chicken back into the pot, cover and turn off the heat. Leave the chicken in the pot and the pot on the burner, but you will need no more heat. The water will be hot enough to cook the bird. After 1 hour the chicken is done. Remove and cool and debone it. Some of the poaching water can be used to cover the meat or use the meat for other chicken dishes that calls for cooked chicken.

Recipe Source: This is from Jeff Smith's "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines

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500 calories, 35 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrates, 43 grams protein per serving. This recipe is low in carbs.
Show full nutritional data (including Weight Watcher's Points ®, cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, and diabetic exchanges)

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Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
I've used this method since the cookbook first came out with excellent results. The problem using it today is in finding a three pound chicken among the super-sized birds at the store.

Registered Member at
Member since:
Jul 15, 2012

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
I have been using this recipe since 2005. I feel it is a great "basic" recipe everyone should be familiar with. Jeff Smith advises you to use a couple of wooden spoons to remove the chicken the first time. The reason for this is you don't want to tear the ski if you can help it. I have trouble doing that so I came up with a neat trick. I run a piece of cooking string (just pure white cotton twine) through the bird's cavity. When it comes time to take ths chicken out of the hot water the first time you just grab the string and lift.

Registered Member at
Member since:
Jun 3, 2011

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
I miss jeff smith...i know he had some problems at the end of his life, but he really did know food. this is one of his best and most simple recipes (and one of my favorite cook books) whenever i describe it to anyone, they just can't believe how simple - and ultimately delicious - this recipe is. The reason why you do the double dunk, once and then again, is to sear the skin and to prevent that nasty scum from forming (if you have ever boiled chicken, you know what i am talking about). after you are done with the chicken, you can debone the whole thing and put the bones back in the water, and the skin, too, if you like, to be simmered for another couple of hours. it makes a wonderful base for any non-vegetarian broth that can be used right away or frozen for future use. try it!!!

Guest at

Guest Foodie

No. The recipe and its method IS correct. The reason for boiling the water, adding the chicken, removing the chicken, and then reboiling the water before returning the chicken to the pot, is so that the skin is scalded. If you do not follow the procedure, as written, the chicken will be fatty and greasy, the skin limp and flaccid. The method is correctly relayed in this recipe.

Guest at


I think you got the recipe wrong as far as the method goes. You said to bring the water to a boil then add the chicken and bring to a boil then remove the chicken and bring to a boil again. If I am not mistaken, You need to bring the water to a boil, add the chicken and bring back up to a boil, then remove from heat (covered) and wait the hour or so.He says that this is the best chicken that He has ever had. I may be wrong on the procedure cuz I googled the recipe cuz I could not find the book that it was in. This cookbook was the first ever cookbook that I ever read from cover to cover. I then realized that if you cannot actually read the cookbook from cover to cover, it is not a cookbook worth owning.

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