Lemony Poached Chicken

Serves 4
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 1¾–2 hours


1 whole free-range chicken, about 1.5–2 kg (3–4 lb)
3 shallots, halved
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 rosemary sprig
8 black peppercorns
100 ml (3½ fl oz) balsamic vinegar
1 preserved lemon, chopped
1 small bunch of sage, leaves removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin rapeseed oil
salt and pepper

Lemony Poached Chicken

Place the chicken, shallots, garlic, celery, rosemary and black peppercorns in a
large saucepan. Add the balsamic vinegar and pour in enough cold water to
almost cover the chicken. Place over a medium heat and bring slowly to the boil,
skimming the surface to remove any scummy froth. Cover and simmer gently for
1 hour.

Add the preserved lemon and half the sage leaves, then simmer gently for a
further 15–30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, until the juices run
clear when the thickest part of the leg is pierced with a knife. Carefully remove
from the pan and place in a deep dish, cover with foil and leave to rest. Increase
the heat and boil the stock for 20–25 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove
from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Season to taste.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan and shallow-fry the remaining sage leaves for
30 seconds until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Cut the chicken meat from the carcass, discarding the skin, and spoon into
shallow bowls with plenty of cooking broth. Garnish with the crisp sage leaves and serve with steamed asparagus and broccoli.

For lemony chicken breasts, replace the whole chicken with 4 large boneless,
skinless chicken breasts. Place in a large saucepan with the garlic, rosemary,
peppercorns, balsamic vinegar and preserved lemon and just cover with water.
Simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Cut
the chicken into thick slices and serve in bowls with the chicken broth, garnished
with sage leaves as above.


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