Poule au pot

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds

    four to six

Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

There is both a magnificence and a humility about this whole stuffed, poached chicken, served with vegetables in its own soupy juices, and I can’t decide which sentiment is the more appealing. It has been the great middle-class dream ever since the good King Henry IV of Navarre wished that all his subjects might have a chicken in the pot (poule au pot) on every Sunday of the year.


  • 1 free range chicken, size 16 or 18 (3 to 4 lb)
  • 2 slices stale bread
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 rashers bacon, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 250 g (9 oz) minced pork or chicken
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 turnips, peeled
  • 4 smallish leeks, cleaned and trimmed
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 small onions, peeled
  • 6 small potatoes, peeled
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley


Soak bread in milk, then squeeze dry. Beat bread, bacon, parsley, egg, nutmeg and minced pork or chicken together with a wooden spoon, and stuff inside the cleaned and dried cavity of the chicken, sliding a little carefully between the skin and the breast as well.

Place in a large pot with carrots, turnips, leeks, celery, onion, potatoes, salt and pepper. Add boiling water to just cover the chicken, and bring to the boil, skimming to remove any icky stuff that floats to the surface. Reduce to a gentle simmer, cover, and leave to simmer for 1½ hours.

Remove chicken from pot, and carve into large, generous pieces. Arrange vegetables on a large, warmed serving dish, and lay chicken pieces on top. Spoon over enough of the stock to moisten well. Tuck in the thyme and parsley, and take to the table.

Serve in shallow pasta bowls with a few spoonfuls of broth.