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My Mother's Praised Chicken

by . Featured in KITCHEN
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Introduction

This may well be - indeed is - the smell, the taste, the dish that says "family" to me and my siblings, and brings our long-absent mother back to the kitchen and the table with us.

This may well be - indeed is - the smell, the taste, the dish that says "family" to me and my siblings, and brings our long-absent mother back to the kitchen and the table with us.

My Mother's Praised Chicken
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 4-8

Metric Cups
  • 1 large chicken (preferably organic)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 100 millilitres white wine
  • 2 - 3 leeks (cleaned, trimmed & cut into 7cm logs)
  • 2 - 3 carrots (peeled & cut into batons)
  • 1 - 2 sticks celery (sliced)
  • approx. 2 litres cold water
  • 1 bouquet garni (or 1 teaspoon dried herbs)
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons red peppercorns (or 2 teaspoons of good grinding pepper)
  • english mustard
  • chopped fresh dill
  • 1 large chicken (preferably organic)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic flavored oil
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 - 3 leeks (cleaned, trimmed & cut into 7cm logs)
  • 2 - 3 carrots (peeled & cut into batons)
  • 1 - 2 sticks celery (sliced)
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 1 bouquet garni (or 1 teaspoon dried herbs)
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons red peppercorns (or 2 teaspoons of good grinding pepper)
  • english mustard
  • chopped fresh dill

Method

  1. Get out a large, flame-safe cooking pot (with a lid) in which the chicken can fit snugly: mine is about 28cm wide x 10cm deep / 11inches wide x 4 inches deep.
  2. On a washable board, un-truss the chicken, put it breast-side down and press down until you hear the breastbone crack. (As you may imagine, I like this.) Then press down again, so that the chicken is flattened slightly. Now cut off the ankle joints below the drumstick (but keep them); I find kitchen scissors up to the task.
  3. Put the oil in the pan to heat, then brown the chicken for a few minutes breast-side down, and turn up the heat and turn over the chicken, tossing in the feet as you do so. Still over a vigorous heat add the wine or vermouth to the pan and let it bubble down a little before adding the leeks, carrots and celery.
  4. Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken, though the very top of it may poke out, then pop in the bouquet garni or your herbs of choice, and the parsley stalks (if I have a bunch, I cut the stalks off to use here, but leave them tied in the rubber band) or parsley sprigs.
  5. The chicken should be almost completely submerged by now and if not, do add some more cold water. You want it just about covered.
  6. Bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, turn the heat to very low and leave to cook for 1½–2 hours. I tend to give it 1½ hours, or 1 hour 40 minutes, then leave it to stand with the heat off, but the lid still on, for the remaining 20–30 minutes.
  7. Serve the chicken and accompanying vegetables with brown basmati rice, adding a ladleful or two of liquid over each shallow bowl, as you go, and putting fresh dill and mustard on the table for the eaters to add as they wish.
  1. Get out a large, flame-safe cooking pot (with a lid) in which the chicken can fit snugly: mine is about 28cm wide x 10cm deep / 11inches wide x 4 inches deep.
  2. On a washable board, un-truss the chicken, put it breast-side down and press down until you hear the breastbone crack. (As you may imagine, I like this.) Then press down again, so that the chicken is flattened slightly. Now cut off the ankle joints below the drumstick (but keep them); I find kitchen scissors up to the task.
  3. Put the oil in the pan to heat, then brown the chicken for a few minutes breast-side down, and turn up the heat and turn over the chicken, tossing in the feet as you do so. Still over a vigorous heat add the wine or vermouth to the pan and let it bubble down a little before adding the leeks, carrots and celery.
  4. Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken, though the very top of it may poke out, then pop in the bouquet garni or your herbs of choice, and the parsley stalks (if I have a bunch, I cut the stalks off to use here, but leave them tied in the rubber band) or parsley sprigs.
  5. The chicken should be almost completely submerged by now and if not, do add some more cold water. You want it just about covered.
  6. Bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, turn the heat to very low and leave to cook for 1½–2 hours. I tend to give it 1½ hours, or 1 hour 40 minutes, then leave it to stand with the heat off, but the lid still on, for the remaining 20–30 minutes.
  7. Serve the chicken and accompanying vegetables with brown basmati rice, adding a ladleful or two of liquid over each shallow bowl, as you go, and putting fresh dill and mustard on the table for the eaters to add as they wish.

Additional Information

For gluten free serve with a gluten free mustard, such as Dijon.

For gluten free serve with a gluten free mustard, such as Dijon.

Tell us what you think

What 15 Others have said

  • I've got this cooking on the stove right now - and it's definitely a winner. I've flavoured mine with tarragon & parsley (because that's what I've got) and have added potatoes (because we've had rice twice this week already). A great recipe with built-in leftover potential. Chicken today, soup tomorrow!

    Posted by Margarance on 21st October 2015
  • I love this recipe and I've cooked 3 or 4 times. Only fault is that there is no way kitchen scissors can cut off the drumsticks (i.e. through bone). Otherwise LOVE it!!

    Posted by Ihenty on 16th June 2015
  • I have had this bookmarked for ages to try and it was not disappointing!!!  So so good and I didn't tweak anything except for adding a bit of my own chilli mix in my serving to spice it up a little bit... this is going to be a firm favourite of mine from now on...unfortunately my hubby found it a bit bland but I will happily make it for my lunch choice for the week :)

    Posted by hashinasherriff on 9th March 2015
  • I don't know if it is being American but the recipe was a little bland for me. I had to add extra salt. I have played with the recipe and added lemons as well as celery to the dish. It gives it a light refreshing taste yet still soothing.

    Posted by koreanprince on 16th February 2014
  • A delicious recipe and now it's going to become a sure favourite, no fuss nor bother and oh so so tasty.

    Posted by PinkyP on 24th August 2013
  • @ greatIngredients: Yes I have cooked this chicken dish in a slow cooker several times. I follow the recipe up to point 6 (Bring to a bubble) then transfer everything to the slow cooker. Having the chicken+water already heated before using the slow cooker helps to reduce the time it takes for the slow cooker to come to temperature. I just leave it on LOW for 6-8 hours then unplug and leave everything to cool as it is. The meat just falls apart (careful when removing the chicken. Support it from below) and it stays moist and tender. Try it, you won't regret it.

    Posted by Adesse on 5th February 2013
  • Does anyone know whether this would work in a slow cooker? Has anyone tried? Thank you!

    Posted by greatIngredients on 17th January 2013
  • I've made this on several occasions and served it for Sunday dinner one day as we don't always do the conventional roast and now my sister-in-law makes it for dinner on occasion too.

    Posted by jmcant on 10th December 2012
  • I love this, I watched Nigella make it on TV a while ago and then made it myself. Yum.

    Posted by Cookiesquish on 14th April 2012
  • This is an amazing recipe that allows me to have time with my family instead of slaving over a Sunday Roast. The chicken tastes wonderful, goes much further than roast chicken and everyone is happy. I used the leftovers for chicken risotto and a lovely chicken soup last time - using up the stock and vegetables in both. It has become a family favourite - and I just have to decide what to use the leftovers for during the week!! Happy!

    Posted by Bluebird20 on 17th March 2012
  • It seems that the dish grazed my tongue after reading the recipe only. I would definitely make this recipe right after finishing my work. Thanks to Nigella. I have something again to share with my friends at gourmandia.com and gourmetrecipe.com

    Posted by lisa132 on 18th February 2012
  • I am very grateful to Nigella for this wonderful recipe ! My girIfriend and I cook this chicken with lentils in the soup, it's delicious.

    Posted by Asmondeus on 3rd January 2012
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