Wednesday 15 July 2015

Poached Chicken with Broad Bean sauce

It's a while since I posted anything about cooking, but the availability of lots of lovely home-grown Broad Beans has persuaded me to rectify that.

My recipe is vaguely inspired by the Poached Chicken with sweet-spiced bulgur dish I made some time ago, following a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi. We often have a roast chicken, which is an easy and very comforting meal, but this time I wanted something different, with the chicken cooked long and slow in water infused with sweet spices - cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cardamom, as well as black pepper and Bay leaves. In my mind this makes it "Middle Eastern-style", but then of course it may be nothing like what they eat in the Middle East...

When I made the Poached Chicken with sweet-spiced bulgur, I invented a tomato sauce for it, so this time I felt obliged to do something along the same lines. This is where my Broad Beans came into play.

I boiled the beans (about 700 grams before shelling) until tender in water to which I had added a couple of sprigs of fresh Mint. I then drained them, removed the cooked Mint, and blitzed the beans in a food-processor along with more fresh Mint and some Extra Virgin olive oil, so that they became a bit like a Hummus:

I would have liked to have eaten the "hummus" there and then, while it was still warm, perhaps with some bread sticks to scoop it up with, but I restrained myself and kept it till later. (I'll confess to having tasted it, like a good cook should.) When the chicken dish was ready (see below), I warmed up the dip in a small saucepan, adding a little water to loosen it to a sauce texture, and spooned it over the meat just before serving.

This is the chicken just before the start of cooking. Into our biggest pan went the whole chicken plus a large carrot and a large onion, both peeled and quartered, and the spices, three litres of water, a couple of sprigs of Parsley and a generous pinch of salt.

Then it was just a case of bringing the pan to the boil, turning it down to a slow simmer and leaving it to cook for about an hour.

Meanwhile, I prepared some accompaniments using home-grown kohlrabi, carrots and cucumber.

The kohlrabi and carrots were finely grated and served on lettuce leaves, while the cucumber was peeled and sliced into batons.

The final element of the dish was the bulgur. I used 150g of it for the two of us, making it up with hot chicken stock, and adding some chopped parsley just before serving.

When presenting the dish I used only the breasts of the chicken, each one sliced into six or seven pieces, with the Broad Bean and Mint sauce spooned over it. I think actually the sauce was the best bit of the meal. Fortunately there was still some left, to be eaten later as a dip!

The chicken meat was a little disappointing, I have to say. Despite the very slow cooking, it was rather dry. I guess it had next to no fat in it. This is the penalty for buying a cheap chicken from the supermarket! Still, it had successfully picked up the flavours of the spices, which is what I had hoped for, so I'll count that part as a success.


  1. It looks lovely. I'd have never thought to turn the broad beans in to a sauce.

  2. Your meal looks lovely as always. I like the idea of raw grated kohlrabi, I may grow some again next year.

  3. That sounds really good. I used to make a fava bean dip that sounds close to that.

  4. Looks delicious - I think it will be a while before I do an actual recipe with our favas. They are only trickling in at the moment, so we gobble them up practically as soon as they are picked.

  5. Did a similar thing with my surplus (boiled) broad beans - made a thick puree flavoured with garlic, parsley, cumin and a little olive oil, then rolled it into small balls, coated in flour and baked them on a tray in the oven as falafel. Delicious with pita bread and salad.
    Also added a puree of cooked beans to a savoury pancake mix to make small thick pancakes (I used an Ina Garten courgette pancake recipe - also good for using up a surplus) which were very easy, a pretty green colour and tasty!

    1. Wow, the "falafel" recipe sounds very nice. I might try that (next year, because my BBs are finished now). I never have a surplus of them!

  6. Mark - that does look great, although sorry to hear you were a little dis-appointed with the chicken. The idea and recipe is a good one.

    All the best Jan


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