Poule au pot (Chicken in the pot)

By Jonathan Levitt
Globe Correspondent / November 12, 2008
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Serves 6

Begin by making a chicken soup - using back, necks, legs, and thighs, along with lots of vegetables. Then remove all the meat from the bone (there's plenty on both the backs and the necks). To make in advance, cook the soup completely. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the broth. Refrigerate them separately. Before serving, skim the fat from the broth.

Let it simmer for 5 minutes with the chicken and vegetables.

4 pounds chicken pieces (backs, necks, legs, and thighs)
1 onion, peeled
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, parsley stems, and 2 sprigs of thyme tied with string)
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for serving
3 leeks, white parts only, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 small yellow potatoes, halved
6 small carrots, halved
6 small turnips, halved
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
1 cup cornichon or other small pickles
1. In a soup pot, combine the chicken, onion, bouquet garni, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour in enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer gently, skimming often, for 20 minutes.

2. Add the leeks, celery, potatoes, carrots, and turnips. Partially cover the pot and continue cooking, still skimming occasionally, for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the meat is falling off the bone.

3. With a slotted spoon remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot and set aside in a large shallow bowl. Discard the bouquet garni. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Pull off the meaty pieces from the necks and along the backs. Shred the larger pieces of chicken. Discard all skin and bones.

4. Return the chicken and vegetables to the broth. Reheat until the mixture is almost boiling. Ladle the chicken, vegetables, and broth into shallow bowls. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with salt and pickles.

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