Crock pots are a college student’s best friend. Nothing is better than coming back from a long day of classes and studying to having a fully cooked meal prepared. Even better than that is having all your meals prepared for the entire week all set and ready to consume. A staple in my busy-college-student-life, that I always make at the beginning of the week, is poached chicken. As a college student, the extent of your cooking is probably along the lines of “What is cooking?!” or sometimes the lovely “I only know how to make toast and a nice bowl of cereal!”. So, when you hear “poached” your first thought is probably of the illegal ivory trade perpetuated by evil poachers in African countries (or maybe that’s just my first thought oops). Well, have no fear young-scholarly-future-chefs, I shall guide you. Poached is simply defined as anything that was cooked by simmering in water. You can poach eggs, fish, meat, and even vegetables. When you poach a whole chicken, the meat falls easily off of the bones and is perfect for storing for later meals.
how i poach a chicken
- First, I buy an organic, whole chicken. I bought mine from Trader Joes, but most grocery stores will have the option of buying organic. Yes, it will be around $10 and that sounds like a lot, but this chicken will last you through many meals throughout your week.
- Then take your chicken out of its packaging (duh, but sometimes people need that instruction. Yeah, I’m looking at you) and place it in your handy-dandy crockpot.
- Place any vegetable that might enhance the flavor of the chicken and broth (yes, you will be getting broth from this recipe as well) in the crockpot with your chicken. I chose some left over scallions and some carrots. Other things you can add: leaks, yellow or white onions, celery, garlic,tomatoes, pepper corns, ginger, mushrooms, bay leaves, whatever left over vegetables or fresh herbs you have in your fridge, or dried herbs you have in your cabinet.
- Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help extract the flavor and a touch of salt. Make sure your apple cider vinegar is unfiltered, raw, unpasturized, if you can, so that you get the enzymes still in it to help with digestion. I like this brand, that can be found in most grocery stores.
- Cover completely with filtered water (you can be like me and be bad and just use the local tap water that contains chlorine and fluoride that’s probably affecting my brain chemistry oops).
- Lastly, cover and turn on low for 8-10 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
When you’re chicken is done, the meat should fall right off the bones. I like to put my chicken in tupperware containers to keep for future meals. Once you’ve taken all the chicken off the bones, use a slotted spoon to scoop all the bones and vegetables out of your broth. The vegetables and herbs used to poach your chicken won’t have much flavor left in them so I would just compost them, if you can, but don’t compost your chicken bones because those can’t be composted. If you don’t have a slotted spoon, you can use a strainer to get all the bits and pieces out of your broth. Keep the broth to make into soup for the rest of the week or to drink in the morning for added benefits. Here’s a lovely, informative article on the benefits of drinking bone broth.
Poaching a chicken at the beginning of the week is a great way to make effortless meals as a college student. I add the shredded chicken to salads, omelets, and as a side of protein to create balanced meals. Expect to see future recipes including this chicken because I make a poached chicken every week.
I hope this recipe will support any college student, or individual in general, who wants to add meal planning to their journey to a healthier lifestyle. It sure helped me!
Peace and love,