For the cider brandy sauce, heat half of the butter in a pan until foaming, then add the shallots and garlic and gently fry over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and cook for a further 2 minutes, then pour in the brandy and simmer until the liquid has reduced in volume by half.
Add the stock to the pan and simmer until the liquid has reduced in volume by half again. Stir in the cream and cook for 1-2 minutes to warm through, then whisk in the remaining butter until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Keep warm.
For the poached chicken, season the chicken breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then wrap each in heatproof cling film, twisting up the ends to seal. Poach the wrapped breasts in a pan of boiling water for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through (NB: the chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear when a skewer inserted into the thickest part). Lift out and set aside to rest. Remove the cling film.
Cook the broad beans in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and refresh in iced water.
Melt half the butter in a frying pan until foaming. Add the chicken breasts, skin-side down, and fry for 2-3 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over. Transfer to a warm plate to rest.
Return the pan to the heat with two-thirds of the remaining butter. Fry the mushrooms for 4-5 minutes, or until tender, then stir the mushrooms into the warm cider brandy sauce, along with the drained broad beans. Heat the sauce through.
Melt the remaining butter in a pan and cook the spinach leaves for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then drain on kitchen paper.
To serve, slice each chicken breast into 5 pieces and arrange around the edge of warmed serving plates. Spoon the wilted spinach into the centre and the mushrooms and broad beans around. Finish with a puddle of sauce.
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Five amateur cooks try to prove their worth to judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.