My mum used to make this for for me when I was a kid, and it’s still one of my favorite things to eat when I feel tired or run-down and in need of something light.
Stud each onion half with two cloves. Cut the white and pale green parts of the trimmed leeks into three equal lengths, then in half lengthwise. Set aside. Cut the dark tops of the leeks in half and tie them together in a bundle with a piece of string. Set aside.
Put the chicken into a heavy 6 qt Dutch oven or saucepan with a lid. Cover with water, and bring to a boil over a medium-high flame. As soon as the chicken flesh turns white, remove any scum that comes to the surface. Lower the flame to medium.
Add the carrots, turnips, bay leaf, peppercorns, bundled leek greens and clove studded onions. Reserve the leek whites. If needed add more stock or water to cover the vegetables completely. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down to low. Sprinkle with the sea salt and cover. Cook at a simmer over very low heat for about 20-25 minutes. The chicken should be just cooked and the vegetables tender but not mushy. Remove the bundled leek greens. Discard.
Check broth for salt. Add the measured rice directly to the pot. Add the reserved leek whites to the top of the pot. Cover and cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit, covered, for 10 minutes for the rice to steam and the flavors to develop.
To serve: Cut the chicken pieces in half. Plate the chicken with half an onion and some carrots, turnips, leek whites, and rice. Spoon stock from the pot over the chicken and vegetables. Serve with Dijon mustard on the side.
If leeks aren’t available, substitute two small celery branches cut into sticks.
You can substitute a whole skinless chicken instead of chicken pieces. Just up the cooking time in Step 2 to 35 -40 minutes depending on the size of the bird.
If you want to make the dish a little more elegant, cook the rice in a separate pot, with the same timing and method as below, with 2 3⁄4 cups of stock ladled from the chicken for a risotto-like side dish.