Poaching and pulling chicken

Poaching and pulling chicken is really very simple, and very worth doing. I know boiled meat is generally pale and unappetizing, but the pulled chicken is so meltingly tender it can’t be resisted. Once you’ve made it, you have several meals’ worth of prepared meat that make weeknight cooking that much easier. I made enchiladas and chicken pot pie with this, and there are dozens of other dishes that would benefit from it as well. This recipe is adapted from Rosalea Murphy’s Pink Adobe Cookbook. Incidentally, if you’re ever looking for a nice place to get good New Mexican food in Santa Fe, the pink Adobe is definitely on my list. What won me over there isn’t traditional New Mexican (a whole baking potato deep fried. Holy Schnikies, that stuff is good.), but the real New Mexican food there is the sort of bold yet simple fare I couldn’t wait to try making at home. Anyway, on to the food.


1 pound chicken meat

about 3 cups chicken broth (or water, if your chicken has bones)

1 to 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 T mustard

salt, to taste

Most people would probably add onion and celery as well. Go for it, if you like. I was out of celery, and Mr. B and I don’t really eat onions, so we just use garlic a lot.


Fry garlic in a bit of olive oil until soft and stinky. Add broth (or water) and mustard and bring to a boil. Add carrots (and onion and celery) and chicken, turn down to a simmer, and cook about 40 minutes.

Turns out, you can't take a good picture through murky broth.

Turn off the heat and let the chicken and broth cool just enough that you won’t burn yourself. (Full disclosure: I burned myself. Oh, well.)

Put the chicken on a cutting board and pour the liquid through a strainer into a jar or something. Congrats, you’ve made (or improved upon store-bought) chicken broth! Now we pull chicken.

Just hold it in place with one fork and scrape on it with another as though you were trying to comb it. Strings of chicken will ensue. Continue until all the chicken is pulled.

Tomorrow, enchiladas!


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  1. #1 by Katie on June 18, 2013 - 3:21 PM

    Did this today. I followed the directions pretty closely and after I pulled the chicken I covered it in BBQ sauce. Then I popped it in the oven covered in foil for about 10 mins. Juicy and delicious. 😀

    Thank you!

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