Middle Eastern style poached chicken

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Middle Eastern style poached chicken

Main Serves 4 1h 10 min
A warming bowl of tender poached chicken tossed with grains and greens. Prunes combine with dried limes to give a lovely balance of sweet and sour to the meat. You don't need to stick to kale here – chard, spinach and spring or winter greens would all hit the spot. Served garnished with something sharp – chopped spring onions, coriander, parsley or thinly sliced red onion.


  • ½ a chicken, breast, leg and wing separated, or two legs
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 2 dried limes (broken)
  • 4 dried mushrooms
  • 8 allspice berries
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 10 prunes
  • 1.5 litres chicken or veg stock
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 350g curly kale
  • 150g pearled spelt or barley or quinoa or bulghur wheat
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 1h
  • Step 1

    Put the chicken, cardamom pods, limes, mushrooms, allspice, garlic, onion, prunes and stock in a large saucepan, bring to the simmer and cook for 40 minutes.
  • Step 2

    Periodically, push down the prunes and limes with a potato masher to release the flavours and juice.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, chop up the kale and blanch for 3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and cool under the cold tap.
  • Step 4

    Leave in the colander. Using the same water, cook the grains until al dente. Strain.
  • Step 5

    Remove the chicken to one side and strain the broth through a sieve. Discard the solids.
  • Step 6

    Return the liquid to the pan, bring back to the simmer and add the grains and kale.
  • Step 7

    Pull/chop the chicken into biggish pieces, discarding the skin. Return to the broth in the pan, adding the lemon juice and zest, and some salt and pepper. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Step 8

    Serve in bowls with whatever garnishes come to hand - chopped spring onions, coriander leaf, crispy fried shallots etc.

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