This humble poached chicken salad number makes most other chicken salad dishes look like a first draft.
The road to dinner is paved with disappointing cooking methods. And no road is quite as rocky as the cooking of a humble piece of chicken. Flash fried, oven baked, skin on, skin off, poached, sous vide…. A combination of all. Every cook has their method, that single piece of chicken cooking know-how that will revolutionise their meal, only for it to add to the disappointment.
This humble poached chicken salad number makes most other chicken salad dishes look like a first draft, the soft gelatinous texture continuing far beyond what feels decadent. It makes you feel like the bird died for a reason, and if there is a more perfect way to eat a chicken I am yet to meet it and shake it by the tail feathers.
1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
3 skinless chicken breasts (about 250gm each)
1-2 handfuls mixed lettuce
1 carrot, peeled, shredded
½ cup goats feta, coarsely crumbled
Olive oil to serve
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup mixed kalamata and Sicilian olives, finely chopped
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
¼ cup basil leaves, very finely chopped
Bring stock to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken, simmer over low heat for 3 minutes, then set aside to cool in stock (20-25 minutes).
Remove the chicken, cover and set aside.
Return the stock to the boil, add the lentils and cook until tender (20 – 25 minutes), drain, drizzle with olive oil and season generously. If you require more liquid during the cooking of the lentils, add additional chicken stock or water.
For the salsa add the chopped olives and herbs in a bowl, tossing gently to combine.
Layer the lentils, salad leaves, shredded carrot on serving plates. Slice the chicken thickly and place on top of the salad. Squeeze over the lemon juice and drizzle olive oil to taste. You want the salad to have a light coating, make sure you don't drown the salad. Top the chicken with 1-2 spoonfuls of olive salsa, season and serve immediately.