THIS is an ideal recipe if you are beginning to harvest some of the vegetables in your garden or allotment and have only a handful of each.
By mixing them together and making them the base for this easy-to-make poached chicken dish, you can add as many or as little as you like.
The measures in this recipe, therefore, are just a guide. Leave out the veggies you don't have and add others to make up the bulk. Don't forget that the tops of early beetroot or radishes can be a substitute for spinach and make a tasty addition if used on the day they are picked.
To serve four, you will need: Four skinless chicken breasts Quarter pint chicken stock Splash of rice wine or dry sherry One large onion - quartered Three cloves of garlic - sliced thin Chunk of fresh ginger the size of two walnuts - cut into thin slices One handful spinach One handful broad beans Half a bundle of asparagus trimmed and chopped Two carrots cut into ribbons using a potato peeler A dribble of soy sauce to taste A handful fresh coriander leaves One fresh chilli - deseeded and slice thin - optional Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.
Method: Place the chicken in a large frying pan along with the chicken stock rice wine/sherry, onion pieces, garlic and ginger and bring slowly to the boil.
Reduce the heat, place a lid on the pan and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm while you cook the vegetables.
Place all the vegetables into the liquid and simmer for about five minutes or until they are tender.
When the vegetables are done, taste the liquid, adding a little soy sauce for extra flavour. Now taste again, adding a little salt and and freshly ground black peppercorns if you think the liquid requires more seasoning.
Scoop the vegetables on to the serving plates, cut each chicken portion into thick slices, place on top, then add the sauce, using a few of the sliced carrot pieces as garnish.