Poached chicken with spring vegetables and pistou
- April 2015
- Serves 4-6
- Hands-on time 30 min, simmering time 1½-2 hours
Debbie Major’s poaches chicken and serves with plenty of vegetables and a herby pistou in this springtime recipe.
- 19.6g (5.5g saturated)
- 35.7g (6g sugars)
For 6 servings
- 2kg British free-range chicken
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 large celery stick, sliced
- Bouquet garni (fresh bay leaves, thyme and parsley, tied together)
- 75g broken spaghetti or small soup-size pasta shapes
- 400g can haricot or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
For the spring vegetables
- 500g baby new potatoes, scrubbed
- 150g baby fennel, trimmed and halved lengthways
- 150g baby carrots, trimmed
- 150g celery, cut into 10cm lengths
- 150g baby leeks, trimmed
- 150g asparagus tips
- 150g shelled baby peas
For the pistou
- 50g fresh basil leaves
- 2-3 fat garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 semi-dried tomato, finely chopped (use a fresh tomato when in seaon)
- 75g finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
- 80ml good olive oil
- Remove any giblets from the chicken and freeze for stock. Put the bird into a deep snug-fitting pan. Cover with cold water and add the carrot, leek, celery, bouquet garni and 1 tsp salt. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum on the surface, then cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes, turning the bird halfway through. Turn off the heat and leave to cool.
- Lift the chicken onto a plate. Strain the stock, discard the flavourings, then return it to the pan. Boil for 10-20 minutes until the stock has reduced to about 1.5 litres.
- Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken (discard) and cut it neatly into 8 joints (don’t worry if it falls apart a little). Cover with cling film and set aside. For the pistou, put the basil, garlic, tomato and the grated parmesan into a food processor and whizz then, with the motor running, slowly add the oil to make a pesto-like mixture. Scoop into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the potatoes to the stock and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the pasta and white beans and simmer for 2 minutes more. Add the fennel, carrots and celery for 5 minutes, then the leeks for 3 minutes, then the asparagus and peas for 2-3 minutes.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan and leave for 3-4 minutes to heat through. Stir in half the pistou, then ladle the chicken and vegetables into warmed shallow bowls. Serve with the remaining pistou dolloped on top, with extra grated parmesan.
This is a beautifully light spring dish. Serve with crusty fresh bread if you wish.
Make the recipe to the end of step 2. Let the stock and chicken cool before covering and chilling overnight. The next day, continue from step 3.
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