'Pot au feu' literally translates as 'pot on the fire' and is a classic French family winter warmer. This version is based around chicken and will help you practice your poaching skills. It's a long slow cook but very easy to make as you chuck in a variety of vegetables roughly chopped at different points. A lovely twist is to serve it with pistou (very similar to pesto and you can use this too). Everyone can add a little to their own bowls- it completely lifts the dish. Serves 8.
Place the whole chicken into a large stock pot. Wash and cut the celery sticks and carrots into large chunks. Slice the leek in half lengthways and wash thoroughly. Cut the halves into large chunks. Wash the carrots Peel the onions and cut into quarters.
Throw all of the prepared veggies (not the turnips and potatoes) into the stock pot with the thyme and peppercorns. Pour water into the pot until it covers the chicken and veg. Bring it up to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 90 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and rest for 30 minutes. Peel the turnips and potatoes. Cut the turnips into quarters and the potatoes into cubes. Throw them into the pot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Lift the chicken from the pot. Remove all of the skin and use two forks to pull the chicken meat from the bones. Serve the meat with the vegetables and pour over the broth. Let people stir in their own pesto to taste if you’re using it. Makes 8 servings