Poached Chicken Breast with Barley
Victor Gielisse is a genius at creating dishes which taste fabulous, look wonderful, and don’t rely on heavy fats to get their point across. For this dish, he poaches defatted chicken breasts in an herbed stock, then serves them on a mushroom-barley pilaf surrounded by poached vegetables. Note that the barley may be cooked ahead of time.
- Chicken Stock - 2 cups
- Water - 2 cups
- Barley - 1 cup
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Poached Chicken
- Chicken Breasts - 2, split in two
- Safflower Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Basil leaves - 4, minced
- Parsley Leaves - 4, minced
- Vegetable oil spray
- Chicken Stock - 4 cups
- Bay Leaves - 2
- Black peppercorns - 1 tablespoon
- Rosemary Sprigs - 1
- Cloves Garlic - 2, minced
- Onion - 1, large, chopped chicken stock minced garlic parsley oil
- Leek - 1, white part, cleaned and chopped
- Shiitake Mushrooms - 1 cup, roughly chopped
- Chicken Stock - 1/2 cup
- Clove Garlic - 1, minced
- Cooked barley (above) - 3 cups
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Safflower oil - 1 tablespoon
- Carrot - 1 large, julienned
- Zucchini - 1, julienned
- Celery Stalk - 1, deribbed and julienned
- Cucumber - 1, seeded and diced
- Fresh Ginger - 1/2 inch, grated
- Tomatoes - 2, seeded and diced
- Basil leaves - 2, minced
- Parsley Leaves - 4, minced
- Flat-leaf Parsley Leaves - 12
To cook the barley: Combine the chicken stock, water, and salt in a large pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the barley and let the liquid return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes, until the barley has softened and absorbed the liquid. Remove from heat and set aside. For this dish, the barley may be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated, then brought back to room temperature before use.
To make the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove all fat from the chicken breast halves. Rub the oil onto the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with pepper. Combine the basil and parsley and press onto the chicken breasts. Spray a non-stick skillet with vegetable oil spray. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and sear the chicken breasts for 45 seconds on one side. Turn and sear for 30 seconds on the other side. Turn onto the thick edge and sear 30 seconds. In a large ovenproof pan, combine the chicken stock, bay leaves, peppercorns, rosemary sprig, and minced garlic and bring to a boil. Transfer the chicken breasts to the stock. Cover the chicken with parchment paper and place in the oven. Cook 7 - 10 minutes, until the breasts are cooked through.
To cook the vegetables: Wipe the oil from the non-stick skillet used for the chicken and add the onion, leek, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until slightly softened,, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cooked barley and season with salt and cracked pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes.
In another non-stick skillet, heat the oil and stir in the carrot, zucchini, celery, cucumber, and ginger. Saute 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup chicken stock and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato, basil, and parsley and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
To serve: Remove the chicken from the oven and remove the parchment. Place the mushroom-barley mixture in the centers of four warmed serving plates and top each with a chicken breast. Arrange the vegetable mixture around the outside of the plates. Spoon juices from the vegetables over the chicken. Garnish each plate with 3 flat-leaf parsley leaves.