Poached Chicken with vegetables and watercress mayonnaise

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June 16, 2015 by dgarnett2013

Poached Chicken with vegetables and watercress mayonnaise : Rory O’Connell


For poaching the chicken:

  • I best quality chicken, 1.5kg / 3 ½ lbs in weight
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot peeled and quartered
  • 1 sprig of thyme and parsley
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Cold water to cover the chicken



  • 12 small summer carrots
  • 6 small courgettes
  • 12 small green onions or scallions


For the sauce:

  • Mayonnaise ml / 1 cup / 8fl oz
  • 1 bunch of watercress, chopped top yield 1 cup


Place the chicken, vegetables, herbs and seasonings in a saucepan . It should not be too tight a fit and on the other hand don’t have it floating around in an enormous pot. Cover with cold water and bring slowly to a boil. Some foamy froth may rise to the top of the liquid as it comes to the boil. Skim off this froth as economically as possible and simmer the chicken uncovered for two hours until cooked. Gentle simmering of the liquid is important for several reasons. You need to have the chicken covered by the liquid at all time to ensure it will be properly cooked and you don’t want it to reduce and get too strong at this stage. The gentle simmering also leads to a clearer broth which will make it a finer experience if using it as a broth later.

While the chicken is poaching prepare the vegetables. Scrub the carrots, leaving a little green on top if you like that. Top and tail the courgettes and slice thickly. Trim the hairy root off the onions and cut into 15cm / 6in lengths. Chop the rest of the onions finely for garnishing the dish later.

Melt the butter in a small pan and wilt the chopped watercress until it collapses softly. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot and keep warm in a low oven. Strain out the vegetables and herbs and discard. They have added flavour to the broth and there job is done. Let the liquid sit for five minutes and then skim as much fat as possible from the surface of the liquid.

Place 1 pint of the skimmed liquid in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Add another pinch of salt. Add the carrots and cook for five minutes. Now add the courgettes and cook for a further five minutes. Finally add the onions and cook for five minutes longer. All the vegetables should be tender by now. Strain off 4fl oz of the vegetable cooking liquid and whisk it into the mayonnaise to achieve a sauce of coating consistency. Add the wilted watercress to the sauce. Taste and correct seasoning, adding a little lemon juice if it needs a little sharpening up.

Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables, a sprinkling of the chopped onion tops, the remaining vegetable cooking broth and the mayonnaise passed seperatly in a sauce boat.

Poached on a summer afternoon with Gabriel, Tommy, Francis, Rose and Charlie. 


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