Marinated chicken with lemon, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs

Poached chicken, marinated in lemon, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, served with bruschetta (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

One of the very hot new trends on the food scene is tapas-style eating. And may I say: it is my favourite way to feast! Sharing platters full of snacks, dips, bruschettas and bites with friends around a big table is such a fantastic way to celebrate.

This recipe for poached chicken, marinated in fresh garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, is seriously one of the tastiest ways to eat chicken. The poached chicken becomes so soft that it almost melts in your mouth while the juicy sauces run into the crispy toasted bruschetta. And best of all: you can make it a day ahead and dish it up at room temperature when lunchtime arrives.

The recipe is an adaptation out of Ina Paarman’s book “The Good Food Cookbook”. I bought it 12 years ago while I was still studying Consumer Science in Textiles at the University of Stellenbosch. It was a cheap little book back then, but has remained one of the timeless classics in my cupboard, along with Phillippa Cheifitz’s “Lazy Days”. These books have played a big part in inspiring me to follow my passion for food and cooking.

Recipes are meant to be shared, so here’s my version of Ina’s superb marinated chicken:


  • 1 large whole free-range chicken
  • 2 large carrots, cut into thick chunks
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 litre good quality chicken stock (if you don’t have access to fresh stock, use dissolved cubes)

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup great quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 big tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 big tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock, reserved from the cooked chicken
  • 1 cup organic cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)


  1. Skin the raw chicken by simply pulling the skin off the body and thighs. Don’t bother too much with the wings. Place it, breast side up, in a large heavy-based saucepan with the carrots, onions, garlic and chicken stock.
  2. Cover with greaseproof paper, pushing the paper down to the level of the liquid. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, then simmer on low heat for 1 and a half hours until the chicekn is very tender and starts to come away from the bone. Remove from the heat, then turn the chicken over (breast side down) to cool in the liquid – this takes an hour or 2.
  3. In the meantime, mix the ingredients for the marinade together and leave to stand at room temperature to allow flavours to develop.
  4. When chicken has cooled, remove from pot and reserve 1 cup of stock for the sauce (keep the rest in the freezer for your next recipe). Discard the onion and carrot.
  5. Tear the meat from the bone into long strips and add the cherry tomatoes. Beat the reserved stock into the marinade, then pour over chicken and tomatoes in a porcelain dish and cover with clingfilm, pushing the clingfilm down onto the mixture to expel as much air as possible. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavours mature. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  6. Serve with toasted bruschetta and a green salad, or as part of a tapas style menu.


This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe selection & development, testing and preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photographed by Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Ilse vand der Merwe and Tasha Seccombe

Share this:

You may also like...