250 ml (1 cup) verjuice3stalks of celery, coarsely chopped2carrots, coarsely chopped1head of garlic, halved 6sprigs of thyme3pieces of lemon rind, removed with a peeler2bay leavesReserved from below:basil stalks 2 (1.4kg each) organic chickensTo serve:picked watercressBasil mayonnaise2 cups (firmly packed) basil leaves, stalks reserved for poaching3egg yolks1½ tbsp tarragon or white wine vinegar200 mlolive oil1 tbsplemon juice
Combine all ingredients except watercress in a stock pot or saucepan large enough to hold chickens, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over medium heat, remove from heat, cover and cool completely in liquid. Remove chicken from liquid (you can strain cooking liquid and reserve for stock) and, using a sharp knife, remove breasts and legs. Cut each breast into 3 pieces and cut each leg into 2 through the joint. Arrange on a serving platter, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and scatter with watercress.
Meanwhile, for basil mayonnaise, blanch basil in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, drain, refresh in iced water, drain again and squeeze excess water from basil. Using a food processor, process basil and egg yolks until basil is finely chopped, add vinegar and process to combine. With motor running, add olive oil in a thin, steady stream and process until thick and emulsified. Add lemon juice, season to taste and process to combine. Serve with poached chicken. Makes about 1½ cups.