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Poule au Pot (Creamy Chicken in a pot)

I love Trish’s French Country kitchen on BBC Lifestyle, and this morning I was watching her create this truly French dish that we ate so often when in France two years ago. This method is a little different from the traditional Poule au Pot. Normally the chicken is stuffed and trussed, and the stock strained and served as a broth to start.

This method reminds me of a good chicken a la king, sans the green peppers, but the difference is it doesn’t require the fiddly deboning of the chicken, and can be put in a pot to poach for hours leaving little to do but make the creamy sauce.

Three tips for this recipe:

  1. Pop the chicken under a hot grill for a few minutes to brown the skin before adding the sauce.
  2. Roast a second set of veges, as the ones in the stock cook away to nothing. At the end I add both sets of veges to the pot of chicken so that you have a combination of both textures and flavors.
  3. You can make as much sauce as you desire, just add a little milk, or extra cream at the end if you prefer more sauce/gravy.

Creamy Chicken in a pot.

(serves 4 – 5)

1 whole large chicken                                       1 red onion

2 carrots                                                               2 sticks of celery

2 turnips                                                              1 leek

Bouquet Garnie (tie together two sprigs of thyme, sage, flat leaf parsley and three bay leaves)

Salt and Pepper

For the roux (cream sauce)

2 Tablespoons of flour                            2 Tablespoons of butter

250 ml fresh cream

For the second set of vegetables:

2 carrots                                                     2 sticks of celery

2 turnips                                                     1 leek

1 red onion                                                olive oil

Salt and pepper

(During the last hour of the chicken cooking, roast these roughly chopped veges in a little olive oil and seasoning for 45 minutes or until cooked and tender.)

Method:

  1.  Half fill a large pot with water, and add the chicken, roughly chopped vegetables, bouquet garni and salt and pepper. (The chicken should just be submerged.)
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours on a low heat with the lid on.
  3. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  4. Strain the remaining vegetable and stock and put the liquid back in the same pot, bringing to the boil. Reduce (or boil vigorously) until the liquid has reduced by half.
  5. Pour the stock into a jug and set aside.
  6. In a separate pot melt the butter, and add the flour stirring to combine.
  7. Allow this roux to cook together for a few seconds and then slowly add the stock that you have reserved, little by little, stirring all the time to prevent lumps from forming. (Use a whisk to get rid of any lumps.)
  8. When the sauce has thickened slightly, turn off the heat, and stir in the cream. Season well with salt and pepper.
  9. Place the chicken and the vegetables into the original pot, and pour this creamy sauce over the top.
  10. Serve immediately with rice or mashed potatoes.
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