And then I Broke the Bird’s Breast!

This is my second attempt at Nigella Lawson’s Praised Chicken dish which is from her Kitchen book (one of my faves from 2010) and also featured in one of the TV Episodes.

It’s one of those dishes that really makes you feel virtuous, as it’s just poached chicken, veg and rice. Definitely one for January, it’s a welcome change to all of the excesses of the Christmas and New Year. (Speaking of which, the decorations need to come down tonight!!) I was hoping that the fact it’s full of chickeny goodness would cheer the husband up, as he had a bit of a nightmare with trains tonight! Well, this coupled with a few beers anyway. Think it worked!

I have made some slight tweaks to Nigella’s original recipe, but its essentially the same. The only bit if kit you will need is a rather large pan that will fit the chicken. My Le Creuset only just fits everything in and it’s 24cm wide and about 10 cm deep. I love one pot cooking and this is easy peasy.

Nigella’s  Chicken

1 chicken, approx 1.5 kg (pref free range / organic please!)
A glass of white wine
2 carrots cut into batons
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 leeks, each cut into 4 batons
4 garlic cloves, peeled but kept whole
A few sprigs of parsley
A few sprigs of thyme
Cold water

To Serve
Rice
Parsley

Untruss the chicken and then snip off its ankles (If it’s not a better welfare bird then you won’t have to do this as they will have already been removed) but don’t throw them away!

Then press down on the breast of the bird until you hear its breastbone crack and the bird flattens slightly. Like Nigella, I really enjoyed this bit! Great if you feel like a bit of violence on a Thursday evening… If you’re a wuss then skip this part, but be warned that it may not fit into your pan. Season the bird.

Splosh some olive oil into the pan and heat up slowly. Once it’s warm enough, place the chicken in the pan, breast side down and turn the heat up. After a few minutes, the chicken should have browned so turn it over and pop in the bird ankles (Of course these are not for eating, unless you want to, but they will add flavour to the soup).

You don’t need to completely cover the chicken

Add the white wine and let it bubble away slightly before adding the garlic, carrots, leeks and celery. Add the parsley and thyme (I tie them up with the elastic I untrussed the chicken with).

The add enough cold water so that most of the chicken is covered, bring to a rumbling simmer and then clamp the lid on.

The chicken should take around 1 hour 30mins – 45 mins. Once ready, remove from the pan and carve.

Serve the chicken, soup and veg with rice (I used basmati as this is all I had in the cupboard, but wild rice would be yum!) and an extra smattering of parsley. Not the prettiest of dishes, but it tastes brill. Felt so healthy that a glass of wine was in order to restore the balance…

This also leaves shed loads of leftover chicken as for some reason it goes a very long way and any leftover soup can be used as a stock. Bonus.

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