Sunday, 19 June 2011

Whole poached chicken

This is probably one of my favourite meals. There is something about cooking this that I found soothing and relaxing. So cliche, chicken soothing but what can i say, I am cliche...

It is so simple but the simplicity of this dish is what makes it so tasty. 

You need a large casserole dish or stockpot to fit this chicken in so that you can cover it with water by about 2.5cm. Start of by stuffing the chicken with parsley and bay leaves, then put the chicken into the pot, cover it with water and a teaspoon of salt. Scatter in the potatoes and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn it down to a simmer and cover with a lid for about 20 minutes. 

After 20 minutes add your baby carrots, turnips or radishes and fennel. Carry on simmering for 30 to 40 minutes. I used radish. I had no idea that you can boil radish, but yum

When you can easily pull the leg bone away from the chicken, you know that it's cooked to perfection. By that time the other veg will be cooked, but don't break them up.

Horseradish cream is not an option for this dish. If you are going to serve it without horseradish, seriously don't bother. The horseradish takes this dish from a 7 to an off the scale. I made my own by grating some fresh horseradish into some sour cream, but if you can't find fresh you can use hot white horseradish in a jar and mix that with sour cream. 

All you have to do now is carefully remove the chicken to a bowl and add the peas and spinach to the broth. Allow them to cook for one minute, then season carefully to taste.

I took the skin of the chicken and served it very loosely shredded with the veg and some of the liquid and served the horseradish on the side. After tasting this with the horseradish I ended up dousing my whole dish in it! But I will leave that up to you. 

1 x 2kg free-range, organic chicken (if you can I really recommend getting the best chicken you can afford)
• a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 4 bay leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 handfuls of new potatoes, scrubbed
• 2 handfuls of baby carrots
• 2 handfuls of baby turnips or radishes
• 1 bulb of fennel, quartered
• freshly grated horseradish or 1 jar hot creamed horseradish
• 285ml of sour cream
• 2 handfuls of fresh peas
• 1 colanderful of spinach or Swiss chard
• olive oil

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