On a washable board, un-truss the chicken, put it breast-side down, and press down until you hear the breastbone crack. (As you may imagine, I like this.) Then press down again, so that the chicken is flattened slightly. Now cut off the ankle joint below the drumstick (but keep them); I find kitchen scissors up to the task.
Put the oil in a large, flame-safe cooking pot (with a lid) in which the chicken can fit snugly: mine is about 11 inches wide by 4 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the chicken, breast side down. Brown the chicken for a few minutes, then raise the heat and turn the chicken over, tossing in the ankle joints as you do so. Add the wine or vermouth and let it bubble down a little before adding the leeks, carrots, and celery.
Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken, though the very top of it may poke out. Add the bouquet garni or your herbs of choice, and the parsley stalks or sprigs along with the salt and red peppercorns or a good grinding of regular pepper.
The chicken should be almost completely submerged by now and if not, do add some more cold water. You want it just about covered.
Bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, turn the heat to very low, and let cook for 1 1/2 hours, or 1 hour 40 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with parsley leaves.
Serve the chicken and accompanying vegetables with brown basmati rice, adding a ladleful or 2 of liquid over each shallow bowl, as you go, and putting fresh dill and mustard on the table for the eaters to add as they wish.
Freeze Note: The cooked meat can be frozen, as soon as it is cool, in resealable bags or airtight containers for up to 2 months.
From Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Copyright (c) 2010 Nigella Lawson. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.
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