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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Poached Chicken Summer Salad

Poached Chicken Summer Salad
Much to the dismay of the teen, Pizza Friday has morphed to Salad Friday!  He is not a fan.  I am fine with his making pizza for himself if he desires - but he has to clean up - and pizza from scratch is a messy endeavor for him.  He generally takes a different path :-)

This Friday night I had some cubed boneless skinless chicken breast leftover from a mid-week batch of home-made chicken nuggets. The plan was to saute them and use them as my salad toppers.  However, I'd been reading a bit about poaching and it prompted me, at the last minute, to try poaching these chunks.  I read that the trick was allowing the chicken to cool in the cooking liquid, allowing it to maintain its juices until service.  I often have a complaint that poached meats end up dry...which seems odd, but it is what I experience.

This is how I prepared the chicken ...and I didn't measure so these are all approximate...sorry.  I also am very aware this is not traditional poaching - purists please don't ding me.  We are rarely pure in my kitchen.

Poached Chicken Chunks

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili and garlic paste
3/8 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
About 1 cup of chicken broth
1 large boneless, skinless breast,
        cut into medium to large chunks

Heat oil, chili and garlic paste, and sesame oil in pan, stirring to evenly distribute the paste.  Add chicken chunks, turn to coat.  At this point, I was going to saute and then the light bulb went off to add liquid and poach...so I added the chicken broth.

I brought the pot to a low boil and immediately reduced heat to simmer.  I put a lid on because my pan was shallow and I didn't want to lose all my liquid before the chicken was cooked through.  When it appeared "done", I removed from heat, removed the lid, and allowed to cool.

I tasted a piece and was pleasantly surprised at the tender moistness of the chicken chunks and the mild flavor with just a hit of heat at the end.  Perfect for a salad topper where I don't want to have the taste of the chicken overpower the fresh taste of the salad ingredients.

My husband's salad is the one with halved cherry tomatoes.  I laid down a bed of lightly chopped baby spinach mixed with chopped iceberg lettuce.  I circled his with the cherry tomatoes.  Tomatoes are always so colorful and pretty - but I can't stand fresh tomatoes (childhood trauma).  I know, by smell and appearance though, when they are good.  These looked delicious.

I peeled, quartered, and diced 1/2 English Cucumber and divided it between the two salads, I cleaned and sliced 3 green onions, tops and whites, and sprinkled half on each salad.  I had already boiled 3 eggs and had them peeled and cooled.  I quartered them...and since hubs got more of the chicken and tomatoes, I got the extra egg (only seemed fair).  My avocado was partially brown, so I diced what was good and split between the two salads.  I topped each salad with chicken chunks (I ended up cutting each piece in half because they were a bit large for bite size) and topped with reduced fat Feta Cheese crumbles (one of the few cheeses where I cannot tell the difference between the traditional product and the reduced fat product).
My salad - extra eggs and no tomatoes - yum to me!

We both ate every bite of our salads - if I can say so myself, it was really dynamite!  The slight heat of the chili and garlic paste was delicate and flavorful and allowed all the Summer Salad flavors to shine through.
In this photo you can see flecks of the garlic and chili paste...yum!

Another excellent Summer Salad!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon

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