A one-pot meal with chicken to boot evokes an old phrase promising a chicken in every pot. Most attribute this to President Herbert Hoover’s 1928 campaign touting “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” The Republicans actually borrowed this from France’s Henry IV who supposedly said, “I want there to be no peasant in my realm so poor that he will not have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.”
Chickens have nourished us for eons. Many live happy lives keeping us in eggs – another food we utilize almost daily. Many, however, end up on our dinner table as another meal to enjoy with gratitude.
Chickens are so vital to our culture that urban communities here and there are allowing people to keep chickens in their yards. Julia Child said of the chicken, “Some of the most glorious dishes of the French cuisine have been created for chicken.” Ah, Coq au Vin, an honorable and final tribute to the rooster that can no longer do his job.
Keeping all of the chicken moist while cooking is always a challenge. Many cooks brine their birds, which yields a moist result. A simpler and quicker way to achieve this is to poach your chicken in water or stock.
Poached chicken looks rather naked compared to a beautifully browned roasted hen. Add some spring baby vegetables to the pot and Henrietta Hen arrives at the table adorned with beautiful, edible bling.
My recipe is inspired and adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Spring Poached Chicken. This dish is simplicity and perfection – serve it with some crème fraîche laced with fresh grated horseradish, and I guarantee you’ll agree.
Poached Whole Chicken with Spring Vegetables
- 1 fresh chicken
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2-3 bay leaves
- A large handful of flat leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base (optional)
- Several small new or fingerling potatoes
- Baby carrots
- Baby or small turnips
- 2 ribs of celery cut into pieces
- 2 cups (473 ml) fresh or frozen peas
- A large handful of sugar snap peas
- Add some salt and pepper to the cavity of the chicken then fill with the bay leaves and parsley.
- Place in a pot large enough to hold all and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer.
- Add the chicken base, the potatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the remaining vegetables except the peas and continue to simmer for about 40 minutes.
- The chicken is fully cooked when a leg joint moves about easily or the internal temperature reads 155 °F (68 °C).
- Remove the chicken to a large shallow bowl deep enough to hold some of the soupy broth.
- Add the peas and sugar snaps and let cook for 3-4 minutes then turn off heat.
- Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and pour some of the broth over all
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with the horseradish crème fraîche or bottled creamed horseradish.
Horseradish Crème Fraîche
Crème fraîche is a variation of sour cream which could be used as a substitute. For this condiment, simply add freshly grated (I use a zester) horseradish to crème fraîche to taste or use purchased creamed horseradish.
If quality and freshness are as important to you as to us, search out fresh, local, organic ingredients. This bird came from MCK Ranch in Dallas Oregon. You’ll find their products at LifeSource Natural Foods in South Salem and on the table at La Capitale Brasserie on High Street in downtown Salem. MCK Ranch also offers a buyers club for Salemites, with deliveries to West Salem every two weeks.
The ad above was produced by Nate Rafn of Living Culture, a television series that showcases cuisine and agriculture in the Willamette Valley and Pacific Northwest. Their mission is to generate interest in local foods through inspiring and positive media. Nate and his wife will be opening Rafns’, a restaurant in downtown Salem featuring local Willamette Valley ingredients.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities