There are several versions of Bollito (meaning ‘boiled’) – a poached meat dish found all over Italy but with regional variations. Bollito Misto, a Piedmontese dish, is a collection of different meats, while Bollito di Vitelo uses different cuts of veal. The meats are often served at the table in the broth in which they’re cooked, allowing the diner to choose the pieces they want. A bollito is always served with salsa verde, a green sauce of herbs, anchovies, capers and mustard, which has many variations too.
1 chicken (I used corn-fed)
1 lemon, quartered
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
a few flat-leaf parsley stalks
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 hard-boiled egg, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup packed, picked flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup cornichons
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
Rinse the chicken in cold water and put the quartered lemon in the cavity. Place in a large saucepan with the onion, carrot, bay leaf and flat-leaf parsley. Add enough cold water to cover. Season and put a small plate on top to keep the chicken submerged while cooking. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer and poach for 1 hour, skimming off any foam that collects on the surface. A simmer mat is ideal for gentle cooking. Remove from the heat and leave the chicken in the hot broth for 30 minutes. Remove from the saucepan and cover loosely.
Salsa verde: Place the egg, garlic, anchovies, capers, parsley and cornichons on a chopping board and, using a large knife, chop to make a rough paste. Scoop into a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. Season.
To serve: Cut the chicken into serving portions and place on a platter. Serve with bowls of salsa verde and Dijon mustard.
Cook’s tip: Strain the broth from the poached chicken and freeze in smaller portions to use in recipes that require chicken stock.