Monday, November 12, 2012

White Poached Chicken with Tasso Ham and Light Sauce

White Poached Chicken with Tasso Ham and Light Sauce
By Gary Gee

This recipe is a study in contrasts. “White-poaching” refers to the method of gently cooking chicken in a hot liquid, without direct heat. The result is a moist, juicy chicken, full of natural flavor. Because only a few seasonings are used, it is important that only the freshest chicken be utilized. The neutral, natural flavor of the poached chicken is contrasted by the deep, smoky flavor of the tasso. Fresh green onions add bright, fresh notes and a light sauce made from the poaching liquid brings the dish together in delicious harmony.

1 fresh, whole chicken (about 4-5 pounds)
Coarse salt
½ pound smoked Teet's Smoked Pure Pork Tasso, thinly sliced
3 green onions, slivered
***Light Sauce***
2 cups reduced chicken cooking liquid
¼ cup oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Coarse salt
White pepper
1 Tablespoon corn starch

Rinse the chicken, removing excess fat and any pin feathers. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken in a shallow dish and season liberally with coarse salt, making sure to rub some inside the bird. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature for one hour, or (preferably) refrigerate overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand for one hour.

In a large stock pot with a snug lid, add enough water to amply cover the chicken. Bring to a rolling boil. Gently and carefully lower the chicken into the water, breast side up. When the water just returns to a boil, put the lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Do not disturb for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, carefully remove the chicken from the water, taking care not to break the skin (I find that a wooden spoon and rubber spatula work well). Keep the chicken covered in a warm spot. Put the lid back on the pot and turn the heat to high. Return to a rolling boil, and return the chicken to the pot, breast side down. As before, as soon as the water returns to a boil, place the lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Steep for 30 more minutes.
Remove the chicken from the liquid, and let sit for about 20 minutes. Return the cooking liquid to a boil, and begin reducing the stock. You may notice some pink near the chicken bones; if this disturbs you or if you feel the meat is not done to your liking, simply repeat the indirect cooking process until done to your liking.

Hack the chicken into serving pieces, or debone and platter attractively.

Place the sliced tasso in a shallow dish. Spoon some of the hot cooking liquid over the tasso, just to warm it through.

Tuck the tasso and green onions in between chicken slices.

To make the sauce, bring 2 cups of the reduced chicken cooking liquid to a boil. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Dissolve the corn starch in 1 tablespoon of water. Stir into the sauce, return to a boil and check the seasoning. Spoon the hot sauce over the chicken and tasso, sprinkling with more green onions, if desired. Serve immediately.

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