For the last four years, the delivery of my Able and Cole fruit and veg box has chased the Monday blues away. Always a lovely suprise of fresh colourful, seasonal, locally grown fruit and vegetables. It arrives with a challenge to find new ways to use the veg. This week as I looked through the contents of my box, I remembered about a recipe hidden in an Avoca Cafe Cookbook. The Avoca Cafe is a national treasure, and the home of much deliciousness. It is a must visit should you find yourself in Belfast, Wicklow or Dublin (the also spin incredible blankets!)
This week, I plan to give the little recipe and outing and thought I would share
6 chicken breasts or 1 whole chicken
1 Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
A few sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
A few black peppercorns
300ml/½ pint double cream
1 large head of broccoli, divided into florets
15g/½ oz butter
Place the chicken in a large saucepan with the onion, carrots, celery, parsley, bay leaf, peppercornsand enough water to cover. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked – about an hour for a whole chicken; 20 minutes for chicken breasts.
Remove the chicken from the pan and leave to cool. Strip the meat off the bones, dice and set aside.
Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 600ml/1 pint. Add the cream, return to the boil and then whisk in the roux, a little at a time, to form a thick sauce.
Blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water until just tender, then drain and refresh under cold water.
Stir the diced chicken and broccoli into the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour this mixture into an ovenproof dish.
Melt the butter and mix in the breadcrumbs. Spread over the chicken mixture and bake in an oven preheated to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4 for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling