Basic Technique: Dry Poaching

updated Jun 5, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“Dry” and “poaching” might sound like an oxymoron, but hear us out! This is a great technique to use with small cuts that don’t have a lot of internal fat to keep them moist. Here’s how…

Also called oven poaching, dry poaching is like a cross between braising and roasting. We mostly use it for cooking boneless skinless chicken breast, but it also works well with fish, thin cuts of pork, or any meat that has a tendency to overcook.

Butter a baking dish that will comfortably hold all the meat without crowding them too closely together. Cut a sheet of parchment paper a little larger than the pan and rub butter over one side. Preheat the oven to 400°.

Prepare the meat as you normally would for roasting, grilling, or stove-top cooking – that is, rub it with butter or olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and seasonings. Place the meat in the pan with the pieces spaced an inch or so apart. Tuck the parchment paper, butter-side down, around the meat.

Bake the meat until it’s cooked through. This will vary depending on the type and thickness of the meat you’re cooking. For chicken breasts, we find that it usually takes 35-40 minutes.

The parchment paper traps in moisture, gently steaming the chicken in butter and its own juices. The resulting chicken is always tender, moist, and flavored through with the spices we used to coat the outside. It even picks up a little color from the butter and the contact with the hot baking dish.

Try it for yourself!

(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)