Champagne-poached chicken and leeks with herb butter recipe

Adam Liaw
Champagne-poached chicken and leeks with summer herb butter.
Champagne-poached chicken and leeks with summer herb butter. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Gluten-free

The secret with all chicken-breast dishes is not to overcook them. This technique of poaching off the heat is a great way to do it.

Ingredients

2 bunches baby leeks or 3 large leeks, trimmed, dark green parts discarded 

extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

salt, to season

2 cups champagne, sparkling white wine or white wine

½ tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp fennel seeds

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

2 x 180g chicken breasts, trimmed

60g butter

2 tsp lemon juice, plus wedges to serve

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp each of finely shredded parsley, basil, mint and tarragon 

Method

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. If using large leeks, quarter them lengthwise. Blanch leeks for 5 minutes or until tender and softened. Drain, reserving 2 cups of cooking liquid, and refresh leeks under cold running water. Lightly drizzle with oil and season with a little extra salt. Set aside. 

2. Pour the champagne and cooking liquid into a saucepan, add 3 tsp of salt, the peppercorns, fennel seeds and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the chicken breasts and cover the saucepan with its lid. Leave to stand for 10-12 minutes, until just barely cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest for 5 minutes. 

3. Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Heat for 2 minutes, swirling the pan, until the butter turns deep golden and has a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, mustard and salt to combine, add the herbs and stir through.

4. Slice the chicken and divide over two plates with the leeks. Drizzle with the summer herb butter and serve with lemon wedges.