It is very much a peasant dish, with the chicken and vegetables cooked together in a big pot.
This Poule au pot recipe is an easy chicken version of Pot au feu made famous by Henri IV of France who seeing that many of his subjects were so poor and could not afford meat quite as often as they should, declared that it was his ambition that all his people should have a chicken in the pot on a Sunday.
The flavours of the vegetables enrich the chicken and of course you will have a good tasty bouillon from the combination of chicken and vegetables.
If possible for your poule au pot recipe try and
buy a chicken with the giblets for this recipe as they will add flavour to the
4½ - 5½ lb (2 - 2.5 kg) chicken
3 small onions
3½ cup (1lb/450gr) carrots
4 cup (350gr/12oz) leeks
2 cup (225gr/8oz) button mushrooms
1 stick celery
2 cup (225gr/8oz) heart of cabbage
10½ cup (2.5 litres/5¼ pints) water
Sprig of parsley
1 bay leaf
Note: You can keep the rest of the chicken bouillon to make a soup. It will freeze well until you need it.
Peel three small onions and stick each with a clove.
Place them inside the chicken and truss firmly with string.
Peel and cut the carrots and leeks, tie into small bunches.
Cut the celery into 3inch pieces and tie into bunches.
Divide the cabbage into about eight sections but leave a little of the core to hold the leaves together.
Place the chicken, the giblets, salt and water into a large heavy bottomed casserole pan and bring the contents slowly to the boil. The water should reach half way up the breast of the chicken not completely covering it.
Remove the foam as the liquid reaches boiling point. Continue to do this until it is cleared of foam.
Add the prepared vegetables, but not the cabbage at this stage.
Add the herbs, the peppercorns and the remaining cloves and nutmeg.
As the liquid reaches boiling point, lower the heat and cover with lid.
Either simmer slowly for three hours over a low heat or place in a moderate oven.
*The cabbage is added about twenty minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Drain the chicken and remove the skin.
Carve the bird and arrange on a large warm serving plate.
Drain the vegetables and arrange around the chicken meat in small groups.
Cover with cooking foil and keep hot.
Serve with sauce ivoire
This sauce is made by using two parts chicken stock (from the pot above) to one part bechamel sauce.
Before adding the cabbage to the pot, use a ladle and remove enough of the stock for your sauce.
Allow it to cool and remove any excess fat from the surface with a metal spoon or kitchen paper drawn over the surface.
Make your bechamel sauce and mix with the chicken bouillon to make your sauce ivoire.
Place in a sauce boat and serve with your poule au pot.