POACHED SPRING CHICKEN

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

1 large free-range chicken (about 1.8kg/4lb) Olive oil 5 shal­lots, peeled 4 gar­lic cloves, peeled 120g (4oz) baby leeks, trimmed 200g (7oz) baby fen­nel, halved and trimmed 3 bay leaves 2 thin-skinned lemons, halved, any seeds re­moved 200ml (7fl oz) white wine 200g (7oz) green beans, trimmed

For the spring salsa

Big bunches of fresh basil, pars­ley, tar­ragon and mint, leaves picked Driz­zle the chicken with oil and rub in a gen­er­ous amount of salt and pep­per. Place the chicken in a casse­role dish and sur­round with the shal­lots, gar­lic, leeks, fen­nel and bay. If you’ve got thin-skinned lemons, squeeze in the juice, then add the lemon halves too. Oth­er­wise, peel the zest off in thick strips and add with the juice, dis­card­ing the halves. Add the wine and 400ml (14fl oz) water, and bring to a boil over a high heat. Re­duce the heat to a sim­mer and cover. Sim­mer gen­tly for about 1¼ hours, un­til the chicken is cooked and ten­der. Spoon over the broth now and then, and check it’s not bub­bling too vig­or­ously. When it’s 10 min­utes from be­ing done, check the liq­uid for sea­son­ing.

Add the green beans, then put the lid back on and leave to fin­ish be­fore re­mov­ing from the heat. Place the pars­ley, basil, tar­ragon and mint leaves in a food pro­ces­sor. If you can fish out the gar­lic from the casse­role, add that too. Blitz to a paste, then trans­fer to a small bowl. Stir in a lit­tle olive oil and a few spoon­fuls of brais­ing liq­uid. Sit the chicken on a board (dis­card the skin) and carve into thick slices. Di­vide the meat be­tween bowls with the veg­eta­bles, spoon over some brais­ing liq­uid and serve with the dress­ing.

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