poaching a chicken
ingredients
1 large free range or organic chicken (1.8kg is a good size), rinsed under cold water
2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 carrots, finely sliced
750g tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
75g green ginger, finely sliced without peeling
2 stalks of lemon grass, bashed and cut into three
100ml fish sauce
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons whole white peppercorns
 
method
Put everything in a large saucepan and cover over the chicken by roughly 15 cm with cold water. Cover with a lid or tightly with foil and put the pot on your medium burner at the medium heat. Set a time for an hour and check, it should be almost to a simmer — never allow the chicken to boil. Turn the heat down to the lowest possible point and cook the chicken for another two hours. Allow the chicken to cool in the stock — takes several hours and it finishes the cooking.
Strain off the stock and use for soups and sauces and use the chicken as required.

a bit more info
There was a time when boiling a chicken meant the oldest rooster who had long outlived its used by date, cooked in the English manner, nothing much made any difference to the end result which was usually tough, stringy and tasteless. In fact it was the resulting stock that usually tasted terrific and not the chicken. The Chinese kitchen still makes this divine master stock but do not eat the chicken. Chicken cooked in water is now fashionably called poaching and thanks to the knowledge we have gained from such master chefs as Adelaide’s master of fusion, Cheong Liew, we have changed our technique from the English to the Asian kitchen, where a love of food and a totally ’waste not’ attitude means it is a most memorable dish. Another plus is that it virtually cooks itself and can eaten hot with rice and salad, added to a risotto or can be turned into any number of great cold salads that always seem to win universal approval.