Chicken is reasonably priced, widely available and sold in all kinds of cuts. Chicken breast can be mild in taste and often a little dry. Therefore, I prefer to use a whole chicken whenever possible. A whole chicken can have more intense flavor and when the stock it has been cooked in, it gives a good taste to the sauce. This chicken dish is good in the spring when fresh peas are just starting to appear in the markets and it is perfect in this dish. Horseradish can be be hefty, so don’t let it cook in the sauce. When the sauce is finished, stir the horseradish in after the dish is taken off the heat. If it cooks, the strong taste can be destroyed and sometimes make the sauce bitter.
Chicken with Horseradish Sauce
6 main course servings
1 large chicken
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
3 bay leaves
1½ tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
16 oz. freshly shelled peas
1 bunch spring onions, coarsely chopped (save a little for the garnish)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. freshly grated horseradish
salt and freshly ground pepper
Garnish: 3-4 tbsp. chopped parsley
green part of spring onions, sliced
To make the chicken, wash chicken in cold water, taking care to rinse out the body cavity well and put in a large pot. Fill pot with enough water to just cover chicken. Bring to a boil; skim off any foam. Add onion, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt. Bring back to a boil, decrease heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hr.
Transfer chicken to a plate and strain stock into a bowl. Measure 3 cups and set aside. Any leftover stock can be frozen and used another day.
To make the sauce, melt butter in a large skillet and stir flour in. Add 3 cups of stock a little at a time. Cook sauce 4 min. and add peas and spring onions and let them cook 3 min. before adding cream. Season to taste with salt, pepper and horseradish. Don’t let the sauce cook after the horseradish comes in.
To serve, remove the meat from chicken. Add chicken to sauce and serve. Garnish with parsley, spring onions and peas.
Suggested accompaniments: Boiled new baby potatoes and steamed carrots.