The default approach for a whole chicken is to use it as the centerpiece of a roast. But there are alternatives. You could, for example, poach the bird with a few aromatics, so that you’re left with reliably tender, juicy meat and the bonus of a flavoursome stock to use for another meal. Here, that poached chicken is pulled from the bone by hand, shredded, and added to a fragrant carrot salad with North African notes. It’s buoyed by perfumed orange blossom water, which you can get from Arabica, and is particularly well suited to summertime eating (whether the weather matches hopes or not). The star anise, ginger and coriander in the stock make for a fragrant and herby broth or noodle soup.




2 hours


Not too tricky


1.8kg chicken

1 star anise

6cm piece of fresh ginger, quartered

1 garlic bulb, halved through the middle

25g coriander, leaves picked, stalks reserved

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon runny honey

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons orange blossom water

800g carrots, peeled

30g golden raisins or sultanas

40g mint, leaves picked, julienned

50g toasted flaked almonds


Put the chicken in a large, high-sided saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. Cover with cold water, ensuring there’s 4–5cm of water above the top of the meat. Add the star anise, fresh ginger, garlic and the coriander stalks, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a bowl or plate and leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the cumin seeds in a heavy-based dry pan for 2–3 minutes until they release their aroma. Grind them to a powder in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of abrasive sea salt, then combine with the other spices in the base of a large mixing bowl, along with the lemon juice, honey, olive oil and orange blossom water. Use a julienne peeler or the grater attachment of a food processor to turn the carrots into thin strips, then mix these and the raisins or sultanas into the dressing. Leave for 15–30 minutes so the flavours mingle.

Pull the meat from the chicken carcass by hand, tearing into bite-sized pieces along the grain of the flesh. Mix the meat into the carrots while the chicken is still warmer than room temperature. Stir in the coriander, mint and almonds at the same time. Check the seasoning, then serve immediately.

Later on, return the chicken carcass to the stock and simmer for another 30 minutes to extract all the flavour. Strain and reserve for another occasion.

This recipe is taken from The Borough Market Cookbook: recipes and stories from a year at the Market, by Ed Smith.