Poaching Chicken and Fish

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2009

Poaching is cooking foods completely submerged in simmering liquid. Poached foods are usually naturally tender. Some of Martha's favorite foods to poach are salmon steaks, chicken breasts, eggs, pears, and shrimp. The key to flavorful results is the poaching liquid. Almost any liquid can be used. Court bouillon is a typical savory poaching liquid made by simmering aromatic vegetables and herbs in water. Other common poaching liquids include stocks or broths for poultry, water for eggs, and red wine or light-sugar syrups for fruit.



Dutch oven or shallow straight-sided skillet
Cheesecloth or parchment paper, to help whole fish retain its shape while being poached
Kitchen twine, for trussing stuffed meats or poultry Instant-read thermometer


Tips For Flavorful Poaching

Start large, whole fish and larger pieces of meat in cold liquid
Start smaller, quicker-cooking foods, such as fish steaks and chicken breasts, in simmering liquids
The more flavor you give to the poaching liquid, the more flavorful the poached ingredient will be.


Shallow Poaching

To shallow poach foods (usually thin, delicate, and quick to cook), partially submerge the food in simmering liquid, cooking using a combination of the hot liquid and the steam rising into the covered pan. The liquid can be reduced to a make a sauce to serve with the dish.


Deep Poaching

To deep poach foods (whole fish or larger fillets), completely submerge the food in the cooking liquid, which can be served as a broth with the meal.


Recipes for Poaching

Now that you've learned the basics of poaching, try some of Martha's favorite recipes: Poached Salmon, Poached Pears, and Poached Chicken with Grainy Mustard Sauce



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