Heat oil in a large deep saucepan or casserole dish (one with a tight-fitting lid that will be able to hold a whole bird) on the stove. Fry leeks, parsnips, bayleaves, garlic and shallots until they begin to turn golden. Add thyme and mushrooms and fry for a further minute.
Sit chicken on top of vegetables and pour in enough boiling water to just about cover the bird. Bring to the boil, then turn to a simmer, cover and poach 60-90 minutes. Alternatively, place in an oven
Remove chicken to a serving plate and scoop out vegetables with a slotted spoon. Cut up chicken and serve it with vegetables and a jug of broth for saucing the dish.
© 2003 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.