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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 20 Others have said

  • This is such an interesting variation on making old fashioned chicken soup with a kosher ‘boiler’ and carcass for traditional soup. But then it would also include a whole onion and celery and prob a couple of stock cubes for extra salty chicken-y flavour. there’s nothing that says home more than the smell of this cooking away. Delicious. Thanks for this very lovely recipe.

    Posted by Avacolle4 on 28th July 2018
  • Apart from the wine/vermouth, this is the traditional recipe for Jewish chicken soup, so no wonder your mother made it and you love it so much. You can't improve on an old and trusted recipe like this!!

    Posted by Rosbaker on 24th July 2018
  • I've cooked this lots of times too. Originally on the hob, but I've adapted for slow cooker. Low setting 7-8 hours, it falls off the bone -no wastage, every bit of chicken falls off the bone. Put less liquid in for slow cooker due to condensation it produces. I added a stock cube for flavour as I knew so much extra water would arrive during cooking. Great with rice or mash, broccoli on the side if you want some crunch.

    Posted by fleur38 on 24th July 2018
  • Made this today for the first time - really really loved it, so soothing and yet filling. As ever the browning of the chicken took longer than I expect it to! Family really enjoyed it and we now have a mountain of chicken to use up!

    Posted by Charliehar on 14th May 2017
  • A staple in my home over winter for a soft warming meal. I keep the cooking liquid as use it as stock throughout the week. I love it. :)

    Posted by avonpfefer on 20th January 2017
  • 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
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