Chicken in a Pot
This is my version of the famous poule au pot associated with Henri IV of France, whose ambition was that every family in his kingdom might be able to afford to eat this dish every Sunday. I’m really pleased to be able to re-introduce a great classic.
This recipe is from The Delia Collection: Chicken. Serves 4
First, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the casserole, then fry the lardons or pancetta a little with the shallots or button onions. When they have coloured a bit, remove them with a slotted spoon and keep them on one side.
Now, add the rest of the oil and when it is fairly hot, fry the chicken whole. This will seem a bit awkward, but all you do is protect your hands with a cloth and hold the chicken by its legs, turning it into different positions until it is a good golden colour all over; this will take 10-15 minutes in all, then remove it from the casserole.
Next, fry the carrots, turnips and crushed garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring them all around so that they brown slightly. Now put the bacon and onions back in the pan. Push everything to the sides and sit the chicken in the centre. Next, pour in the wine and stock, add the parsley and celery leaves, tied in a bundle (if using celery leaves), plus the thyme, bay leaf and salt and pepper.
Bring to simmering point, then transfer the casserole to the oven (the casserole should be without a lid, but place a piece of foil over the chicken breast) and let it cook for 30 minutes, uncovering and basting the chicken breast now and then with the surrounding stock.
After 30 minutes, remove the foil, add the sliced mushrooms, then bake for another 30 minutes, again basting fairly often with the juices. When the chicken is cooked, take the casserole from the oven, remove the chicken, drain it well and put it on a warmed serving dish. Surround it with the well-drained vegetables and bacon, and discard the bay leaf and herbs.
Now place the casserole over a direct heat and boil the liquid fiercely to reduce it by about a third. Then make a paste with the butter and flour, then whisk this paste into the reduced liquid. Bring it back to the boil, whisking continuously, until the sauce thickens.
Now taste to check the seasoning, then carve and serve the chicken and vegetables with the sauce poured over them.