|A super flavorful way to prepare fresh or frozen chicken breasts to use in chicken salads, soups, skillet meals, casseroles and other recipes.|
Oven Poached Ready ChickenUsually when folks need already cooked chicken for a recipe, they poach a couple of chicken breasts in a saucepan on the top of the stove. It's a quick and easy process when there isn't some already put up, or leftover from another meal. Sometimes we pick up an over-sized deli rotisserie chicken, just for the purpose of a quick meal on a busy day, with some intentional leftovers. Very often, however, those are heavily seasoned and super-salty, making them less adaptable for some recipes.
Several years back, a reader wrote to share with me a method of cooking those bags of individually quick frozen chicken breasts, that she and a friend had come up with. Although they used it for those smaller chicken breasts, I primarily use it for the larger, fresh chicken breasts, since those are the ones that I catch on sale and buy most often, for that very reason. I fell in love with the method, and when I want some chicken to put up, it's the preferred way for me to cook them now.
Let's face it y'all... today's ever popular boneless, skinless chicken breast is pretty bland and tasteless without a little help, and poaching them in water on the stove pretty much boils out any semblance of whatever flavor that is in them. Bettye and Fran's method is far better, giving a flavorful, juicy breast and leaving behind a nice flavorful broth too, which just adds to any dish you're using the chicken for.
As mentioned, this method works just as well on both the larger fresh breasts and the bags of frozen, smaller sized breasts, the only difference being an adjustment for time to account for differences in frozen versus fresh, as well as size. It works well on other pieces of chicken too, again accounting for cuts and size with time. I hope you enjoy using this method as much as I have. Here's how to make them.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with a large sheet of wide heavy duty foil and place chicken breasts on top. Brush frozen breasts with warm water and sprinkle with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning on both sides; turn and season other side. I'm using two larger fresh breasts here, so simply apply seasoning.
Top with onion and celery and form a tub. Pour chicken stock or broth around chicken.
Bring up sides of foil to seal.
Cover baking dish with another sheet of foil and bake 55-60 minutes for frozen breasts, 40-45 minutes for fresh; total time will depend on size and thickness of breasts.
Let rest in foil for 10 minutes, then remove chicken, drain off broth to use or reserve. Internal temperature should be 165 degrees F. Chop or shred as needed, reserving broth for another use. Discard vegetables. Use chicken for tacos, burritos, chicken salad, in casseroles or in any recipe calling for cooked chicken, or prepare for freezer. I highly recommend vacuum sealing to retain optimum freshness.
Here are some terrific ways to use this chicken!
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Recipe: Oven Poached Ready Chicken©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 45-55 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
- 1 (3 pound) bag frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or equivalent fresh)
- Kosher salt, black pepper and Cajun seasoning, to taste
- 1 medium sweet or yellow onion, halved and sliced thick
- 2 ribs celery with leaves, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup of chicken stock/broth or water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with a large sheet of wide heavy duty foil and place chicken breasts on top. If using frozen breasts, brush first with warm water.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning; turn and season other side. Top with onion and celery and form a tub. Pour chicken stock or broth around chicken and bring up sides of foil to seal. Cover baking dish with another sheet of foil and bake 55-60 minutes for frozen breasts, 40-45 minutes for fresh; total time will depend on size and thickness of breasts.
Let rest in foil for 10 minutes, then remove chicken, drain off broth to use or reserve. Discard vegetables. Internal temperature should be 165 degrees F. Chop or shred as needed, reserving broth for another use.
Cook's Notes: Actual cooking time will depend on size and number of breasts, and whether fresh or frozen are used. Use chicken for tacos, burritos, chicken salad, in casseroles or in any recipe calling for cooked chicken, or prepare for freezer. I highly recommend vacuum sealing to retain optimum flavor and freshness. Use other seasonings or rubs as desired for additional flavors.
Seasoning for Tacos, Tex-Mex Bowls and Burritos: Combine 4 cups of cooked chopped or shredded chicken with 2 teaspoons of chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or cayenne. Use as is or stir in 1/3 cup salsa.
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