Spring is playing with us, flirting suggestively at the tail end of this interminably grey winter. In the kitchen, I find I’m at that strange liminal point in the year when it doesn’t really feel like soup and stew season anymore, but nor do I remotely fancy a salad. 

Saying that, my tastebuds are shifting. I want fresher flavours that offer a hit of spring – soft herbs, tart rhubarb, wild garlic, grassy spring greens. 

I love the way a simple one-pot braised chicken can carry you through the year, with little tweaks hinting at the season – a handful of chestnut mushrooms and a little crème fraîche in November, a few cherry tomatoes, basil and plenty of lemon in July. For this late March version, I wanted something that would be warming but not feel totally out of place on a day when the sun makes a brief matinée appearance. 

This recipe will give you a lovely light broth helped along by a little sweet smoked paprika on the chicken skin and some garlic and fennel seeds in the pan. A dash of Worcestershire sauce and some lemon makes the liquor bright and full of flavour, and you’ll pass round a bowl of herby cream for everyone to stir through their dish at the table. If you’ve managed to get your hands on a bunch of wild garlic, definitely add some to the cream. I used parsley and mint, but any soft herbs would do.

‘The Art of Friday Night Dinner’ by Eleanor Steafel (RRP £26). Buy now for £19.99 at or call 0844 871 1514.

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2023-03-24T13:02:42Z dg43tfdfdgfd