Tuesday, 6 January 2009

chicken in a pot

chicken in a pot

The small chicken destined to feed three for Sunday lunch eventually had to feed nine for sunday night supper (no one had got up in time for lunch). This is the Spanish Inquisition style of cooking - stretching one small ingredient to satisfy the hunger of many. On this particular occasion, those optimistically assembling in the kitchen included left over members from band practice, a furious divorcee and a hungry man (not related). The chicken grew smaller by the minute, until I thought of putting it into a pot with the remains of the 2008 vegetable rack. The resulting broth plus hacked up chicken and various veg fed all of us, including a bass guitarist whose father had forgotten to pick him up.
Here's how it went

serves up to 9 people

1 chicken
3 bay leaves
a handful of peppercorns, black or green
a few sprigs of thyme or parsley, or both
3 potatoes
as much left over veg as you can muster in any combination, but must include potatoes and, preferably, carrots. Other veg possibles are chicory, parsnips, celeriac, sprouts, leeks, fennel
fennel seeds (opt)
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
grated rind and juice of one lemon
sea salt
ground pepper

Put the water into a pan large enough to take the chicken and all the veg (water should cover chicken). Bring to the boil and add the three potatoes, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. When it returns to the boil add the chicken, cover and simmer for 25-30mins. Add the rest of the veg plus the grated lemon rind and juice and the garlic and continue to simmer for another 30-40mins, until the chicken is cooked and the veg is thoroughly tender. Remove the chicken to chop into pieces, crush a few of the potatoes into the broth and check seasoning. To serve: ladle the broth with generous quantities of veg into bowls and lay the chopped up pieces of chicken on top. Hunks of wholemeal bread are useful to mop up the broth.

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