Poaching a chicken is a great and easy way to get lovely moist chicken which can be used for a range of recipes, along with a big hit of goodness and flavour in the stock.
If possible use a good quality organic chicken as when poaching there is nowhere to hide with quality – if you can go the extra mile and stump for a corn fed chicken your broth will be a beautiful golden colour, but either way always buy free range.
As an alternative if you don’t have time/inclination you could always make this using shop bough chicken stock/stock cubes and get a rotisserie chicken ready cooked, but I promise you that its worth the extra effort to make this from scratch.
This dish with Orzo is super cosy, the extra ladle of broth over it along with the spinach adds a big punch of goodness and I adore it with a salty kick of halloumi or feta.
Its a slight mix up on the traditional Cypriot dish Chicken Macarounia
Recipe – serves 2-3 with leftover chicken
1 chicken – approx. 1.5kg
½ onion – very rough chopped
1 carrot – halved
1 stick of celery very rough chopped
4 bay leaves
1 lemon – Juices and shells kept to the side
Handful parsley (stalks and all)
2 cloves garlic – pealed
8-10 whole peppercorns
1 - Carefully remove the wings and ends of the legs from the chicken, if needed give it a quick rinse and wash the inside out of any leftover giblets, rub the skin of the chicken with the lemon juice.
2 – In a large stock pot put the chicken, the wings, the lemon skins, a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper and all other ingredients and fill till just covered with water
3 – Pop on the hob and bring to a boil then turn down and let simmer for approx. 1 hour – 1:15, skimming off any skin which forms on the liquid.
4 – Once cooked you can remove any meat from the chicken and the stock will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and also can be frozen.
Lemon and spinach orzo
½ onion finely chopped
450ml hot chicken stock (above)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Shredded poached chicken (above)
Coriander or parsley to garnish
Grated halloumi (or alternative)
Dried mint (optional)
1 – In a saucepan pour a good glug of olive oil and sauté the chopped onion
2 – Add the orzo and coat before pouring in the hot chicken stock, bring to a low simmer and put the lid on the pan – cook for approx. 10 minutes or until the water has been absorbed – if the orzo still has a bite to it add another ladle of stock
3 – Stir through the lemon juice and zest, then add the spinach and stir through till it starts to wilt, season to taste.
4 – Serve with another ladle of the stock for a rich and comforting broth and top with the poached chicken, a sprinkling of fine grated halloumi and some fresh parsley or coriander
Note - I like to add a sprinkling of grated halloumi and dried mint - but its also nice with Feta or Parmesan