Poached chicken with asparagus

Half Hour Meals

The crucial thing with this dish is to use a good strong chicken stock.

4 free-range chicken breasts
500g asparagus with the woody ends trimmed
500ml good strong chicken stock
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the asparagus about 3-4 cm from the tips and roughly chop the ends, reserving the tips. Cook the chopped ends in some of the chicken stock for 5-6 minutes until soft, then remove with a slotted spoon and blend to a smooth purée in a blender.

Place the chicken breasts in a wide saucepan and pour in the liquid that the asparagus has cooked in, and cover with the rest of the stock. Season, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 6-7 minutes, then leave in the liquid.

Cook the asparagus tips in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until tender and drain.

To serve, re-heat the purée and spoon on to warmed serving plates and place the chicken on top. Toss the asparagus tips in a pan with some of the olive oil and season; then scatter over the chicken. Drizzle some more oil over.

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