2 chickens, about 1.6kg/31⁄2lb each
1 carrot, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
6 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
225g/8oz onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon saffron threads
4 dried apricots
grated zest of 1 lemon
300ml/10fl oz dry white wine
3 tablespoons clear honey
1 teaspoon mild curry paste
300ml/10fl oz mayonnaise
300ml/10fl oz double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Put the chickens in two separate large saucepans. Cover with cold water
and add the carrot, celery, peppercorns and 1⁄2 bay leaf to each. Bring
slowly to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for about 1 hour. Pierce
the thigh joints with a skewer to test if cooked – the juices should run
clear. Leave the chickens to cool in their poaching liquid.
• Drain the chickens. Remove and discard the skin, strip off the meat and
discard the bones. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
• Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, and sauté the onion until soft.
Grind the saffron strands to a powder using a mortar and pestle. Stir
into the onions with the apricots, lemon zest, white wine, honey, curry
paste and 1 bay leaf. Bring to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for about
10 minutes until well reduced and the consistency of chutney.
• Cool and purée in a blender or food processor, then sieve.
• Fold the cold saffron mixture into the mayonnaise. Whip the cream until
it just holds its shape. Fold into the mayonnaise mixture, and season with
salt and pepper.
• Mix together the chicken pieces and the mayonnaise mixture, and serve
on a bed of rice.