Stoved Howtowdie With Drappit Eggs

I love the name of this recipe. Since I moved to Scotland my friend June Bertram from Whitecraig has been teaching me to speak properly. I’m ‘away the messages’ when I go for my shopping, and I’ll see you the ‘morns morn’ or the ‘morns nicht’. It’s all verra confusin, ye ken.A howtowdie is a young hen of about 900g/2lb, and to stove it, from the French estuvier, is to cook it enclosed. Drappit eggs are poached eggs because they are drappit in the water, i.e. dropped in the water. Kale is traditionally served with this, but you can substitute spinach.

Ingredients

  • a 900 g/2 lb chicken
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 55 g/2 oz butter
  • 225 g/8 oz shallots, chopped
  • a faggot of herbs
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • 450 ml/¾ pint chicken stock
  • 4 eggs

For the Herb Forcemeat

  • 1-2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • butter
  • 225 g/8 oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • lots of fresh green herbs, chopped

Method

Season the chicken inside and out. Make the forcemeat by softening the onions and garlic in butter, then adding the breadcrumbs and herbs and frying gently until golden. Stuff the chicken with the forcemeat.

Melt the butter in a casserole and brown the chicken all over. Add the shallots, faggot of herbs and rosemary. Pour over the stock. Cover tightly and simmer for 1 hour until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken from the stock and keep warm.

Ladle some of the cooking liquid into another pan and poach the eggs in this. The rest of the stock can be used to make soup.

To serve, place flattened balls of kale or spinach on a flat serving dish. Place the poached eggs on top of these and put the chicken in the centre.