Pic of Poached chicken salad with watercress, potatoes, cucumber and herbs

Poached chicken salad with watercress, potatoes, cucumber and herbs

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Meat mains

Poached chicken salad with watercress, potatoes, cucumber and herbs

Main Serves 2 30 min
This is a semi-warm salad, with lightly poached chicken breast and fresh herbs. We've added a little sharpness from the gherkin and lemon, and some peppery watercress for added punch.

Cook's notes

If you've a small appetite, keep some of the cooked potatoes, sliced chicken and watercress back and use them for a lunchbox salad the next day.


  • 1 carrot
  • 1 leek
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 15g parsley
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 500g salad potatoes
  • 30g chervil
  • 50g watercress
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 gherkins
  • 1 tbsp dried dill tops
  • 2 tbsp soured cream
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
Image of Poached chicken salad with watercress, potatoes, cucumber and herbs


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 20 min
  • Step 1

    First put the stock together for the chicken to poach in. Scrub and roughly chop the carrot, roughly chop 1 leek, washing it well before to remove any grit. Wash and roughly chop 1 of the celery sticks.
  • Step 2

    Pick the leaves off the parsley stalks. Peel the skin off the chicken breasts. Put the chicken in a pan, one that will fit them fairly snugly. Add the carrot, celery, leek and parsley stalks only (save the leaves for later). Season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Step 3

    Add enough water to cover the chicken well, plus an extra 5cm on top. Heat the pan, just until you can see the first few bubbles form before it starts to really boil, then turn the heat right down. Cook on a low heat, a bare simmer (no bubbles) for 15 minutes.
  • Step 4

    While the chicken cooks, wash the potatoes (no need to peel). Cut any large ones in half or quarter's, so they're roughly all the same size. Put them in a separate pan and add a good couple of pinches of salt. Bring the pan up to a boil, then cook until the potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Test by inserting a sharp knife. Drain once cooked and keep to one side to cool a little.
  • Step 5

    Meanwhile, wash the chervil and watercress and leave to drain or pat dry with kitchen paper. Wash the half cucumber. Cut it lengthways in half and scrape out the seeds with a small spoon. Finely slice. Put the slices in a large bowl.
  • Step 6

    Once the chicken has poached for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave in the pan for a moment. Finely slice or dice the gherkins. Wash and finely slice 1 celery stick. Chop the reserved parsley leaves and the chervil.
  • Step 7

    Keeping a little parsley and chervil back to garnish the salad, add the rest along with the dried dill tops, gherkins and celery to the cucumber. Add the soured cream. Squeeze in the juice from quarter of the lemon. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Step 8

    Pick off and discard any larger stalks from the watercress. Lift the chicken out of the pan. Leave both chicken and potatoes to cool slightly, about 5 minutes or so. Once cooled, thinly slice the chicken, holding it with a fork if it's still a little too warm for you to handle.
  • Step 9

    Add the potatoes to the salad bowl. Gently toss everything together. Arrange the watercress, potatoes, cucumber salad and chicken between 2 plates or wide bowls. Sprinkle over the reserved parsley and chervil to serve.

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