This is a traditional French meal dating back to at least the reign of Henri IV in the 16th Century. He considered it important that every French family should eat it at least once a week, and in one of the first social policies ensured that every poor family was given the ingredients to prepare it. This is a one-pot meal, and as such ensures that all the flavours are retained, and mingle together deliciously. As the chicken is cooked in water the fesh should be moist and tender, and fall off the bones. This is very healthy, being low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals. To reduce the amount of fat further, the skin can be removed from the chicken, or alternatively if the meal is prepared in advance the juices can be cooled, and the fat removed from the top. The quantities shown here serve 4 as a main meal.
- 1 Chicken, approximately 2kg, giblets removed
- 3 Bay leaves, fresh
- 3 Sprigs Rosemary, fresh
- Handful Thyme, fresh
- 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Onion, cut into wedges
- 3 Carrots, cut into chunks
- 1 small Savoy cabbage, cut into eighths
- 1/2 Celeriac, diced
- 1 Leek, sliced
- 1 Vegetable stock cube
- 4 medium Potatoes, cut into eighths
- Freshly ground Black pepper
- Place the chicken into the centre of a covered casserole dish and scatter the remaining ingredients around the sides.
- Just cover the chicken with water.
- Place the casserole into an oven at 180 degrees C for approximately an hour and a half. To calculate the exact cooking time, allow 20 minutes per 500g of chicken, and then allow a further 20 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the oven and ensure the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve portions of the chicken meat with the vegetables and some of the stock.