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Potted Chicken


Chosen from Elisabeth’s latest cookbook Preserving, Potting and Pickling: Food from the Store Cupboards of Europe

Potted Chicken Recipe

Makes about 1½lb / 750g

This is a nursery recipe from Northamptonshire, popular in the 1930s and perfect in sandwiches for a picnic or high tea.

Elisabeth describes Potting as "the process of sealing meats, fish, poultry, anything perishable, in an earthenware container under a coating of any edible fat. It was a useful method of preserving goods in pre-refrigeration days and provided an alternative to salt-pickling…..(it) produced such delectable results."


  • 1 medium-sized chicken
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pint/300ml water approx.
  • 8 oz/250g butter
  • 1 onion
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 6 cloves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 12 allspice berries

To finish

  • 1 blade mace
  • 1 oz/25g melted butter


  1. Joint the chicken and skin it. Put it in a saucepan with enough water to cover, the onion stuck with the cloves, the peppercorns, allspice, mace and bay leaf. Cover and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and cook gently for 1-1½ hours, depending on the age of the fowl.
  2. When the meat is tender, take off the lid and boil fiercely to reduce the juices to ½ pint/300ml. Strip the meat off the bones and mince it finely. Strain the juices into the meat. Leave to cool.
  3. Soften the butter and beat it into the meat with the nutmeg. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pot and seal with a layer of melted butter – leave this to settle a little before using, and take care not to pour in the whey as well. Ready immediately, potted chicken keeps for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Credit: Recipe & all associated images With Copyright Owner Permission of Elisabeth Luard

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