Yesterday Earth Day and Good Friday fell on the most stunning hot Spring day. While we may not be celebrating the Christian festival, the holiday weekend provides a focal point to celebrate the return of Spring, all that is good in our lives and this world. We spent much of the day pottering around the house while I tackled the mountain of emails which has built up since Betsy arrived. I suggested to Mr Kat that it might be nice to take a picnic down to the beach in the evening. Despite being at the other end of the house, Milla immediately started racing around and literally jumping for joy at the idea so it was decided that was our plan.
I wanted to make a special picnic but I didn’t want to spend hours preparing food or I’d never have conquered the emails. I decided to poach a chicken which along with a crusty loaf and green salad makes a superb Spring supper. Poaching a chicken gives you meat which is deliciously moist and packed with flavour. You also get a nice volume of chicken stock which you can then use for gravy, soup, boulangere potatoes or tuck away in the freezer to use when you’re in a rush. The absolute best thing about it that it takes five minutes to get it on the stove and a mere couple of minutes to carve.
We packed up our picnic and headed for the nearest bit of coast on the Solent and enjoyed a relaxing couple of hours as the sun went down.
Spring Poached Chicken
Whole chicken (1.3 – 1.7kg)
2 stalks of celery
2 onions (or a bunch of spring onions)
Several cloves of garlic (the more the merrier in our house!)
Half a lemon
Half a tablespoon of fennel seeds
Half a tablespoon of coriander seeds
A good handful of fresh herbs (we had rosemary, sage, parsley and marjoram)
A pinch of sea salt
- Put the chicken in a large pan.
- Roughly chop the vegetables and lemon, tear up the herbs and add all of the ingredients to the pan.
- Cover with cold water.
- Bring to the boil over a medium heat.
- Once boiling, move the pan to a medium ring, put a lid on and simmer over a low heat for approx 1.5 hours.
- Lift the chicken out of the stock and let it rest for a few minutes before carving.
- Strain the cooking liquor and either use for gravy or once cooled skim any fat from the top and save for later.
We served our chicken with a green salad (lettuce, spring onions, cucumber and avocados) and crusty bread. It is equally nice with lemony cous cous, boulangere potatoes, grilled asparagus, potato salad or any number of other summery side dishes.