Friday, October 12, 2007

The Ultimate Chicken Salad

I love Tyler Florence's recipes, and this one is amazing. Warning - this is pretty filling and rich so if you have long pieces of bread (as I do in the picture), I would cut those in half before serving. Give it a try; you will not be disappointed!

For the Poached Chicken:

1 (2 to 3-pound) whole chicken (I used 4 chicken breast w/ skin & bones)
1 gallon water 2 carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
3 celery stalks, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 onion, halved
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
2 turnips, halved (I omitted)

4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
10 peppercorns
3 bay leaves

For the Chicken Salad:
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Kosher salt
About 1 cup mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 celery stalks, small diced
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves plus sprigs, for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded chicken meat, roughly chopped
4 slices sourdough bread, cut 1/2-inch thick
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 pound brie
1 green apple, thinly sliced

For the Poached Chicken:
Begin by poaching the chicken. Put the chicken in a large stockpot and cover with 1 gallon of cool water. Add the vegetables and herbs and bring the pot up to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim well; then simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, skimming frequently as the oil rises to the surface. When done, remove to a platter and set aside to cool. Strain the liquid and reserve it for use as chicken stock. Shred the chicken meat and discard the skin and bones.
(My addition - I cooked the chicken the night before and refrigerated.)

For the Chicken Salad:
Roughly chop the walnuts and then gently toast in a dry skillet over medium heat until they brown and are slightly fragrant. (My addition - toast walnuts the night before and put in a sealed container.) Season walnuts with salt once they are finished toasting. Add the walnuts, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, celery, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large mixing bowl and combine. Fold in the shredded chicken and set aside while you prepare the bread.

This part of the recipe came from watching the show - the recipe on the web changes the assembly of the sandwich up a bit. I suggest doing it as follows. Toast the bread until golden. Smear each piece with a little butter and then a tablespoon of cranberry sauce over over each piece. Turn oven on 500 degrees (broiler). Lay the 4 cranberry-smeared pieces out on a sheet tray (covered with parchment paper) and top with a few slices of green apple, add a scoop of the chicken salad and lastly top each piece with 2 to 3 slices of thick-cut brie. Pop this back in the oven for a minute or 2 so the cheese is slightly melted and creamy. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence, 2007

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