About this recipe:Poached chicken served with a light asparagus sauce proves that fine ingredients need only the simplest cooking to make a delicious meal. Try serving with boiled new potatoes and puréed carrots.
4 skinned, boned chicken breasts, about 125 g (4½ oz) each
1 bay leaf
2 shallots, finely chopped
150 ml (5 fl oz) chicken stock
125 ml (4 fl oz) dry white wine
225 g (8 oz) asparagus, cut into 7.5 cm (3 in) lengths
2 tablespoons cornflour
150 ml (5 fl oz) skimmed milk
Salt and black pepper
To garnish: sprigs of fresh flat-leaved parsley
Prep:5min › Cook:25min › Ready in:30min
Place the chicken breasts in a single layer in a large frying pan with the bay leaf and shallots. Pour in the stock and wine and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, turning the chicken over after 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put a kettle on to boil. Cook the asparagus in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes until it is just tender when tested with a knife. Drain and refresh under cold running water, then drain again thoroughly and set aside.
Remove the chicken breasts from the frying pan and keep them warm. Blend the cornflour and milk together in a large jug. Strain the hot cooking liquid then whisk it into the jug. Return the sauce to the frying pan and boil, stirring continuously, until thickened and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir the cooked asparagus into the sauce and heat it through for 1 minute. Serve the chicken breasts, spoon the sauce and asparagus over them, sprinkle them with pepper and garnish with sprigs of parsley.