Thank you to my sister Lisa Lyles. This is the best cooking method for cold chicken salads. I often adapt & change recipes each time I make them. Here is my most recent adaption. I doubled this recipe for a piano teacher lunch. When poaching the chicken I added fresh fennel instead of the leeks. Another adaption is to prepare without the chicken and/or adding cubed English style cucumber (not peeled)
- 3 whole chicken breasts (w/ bone & skin) or 2 1/2 pounds boneless/skinless
- 1/3 cup olive oil (+/-)
- 1/2 pound green beans, lightly cooked, cut in half or asparagus cut in thirds
- 1/3 cup capers, drained
- 1 cup Kalamata olives or other mixed olives (pitted)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese (or more)
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or less) or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 pint grape tomatoes or 1-2 red bell peppers cut in bite size pieces
- Fresh black pepper
- 1/2 pound orzo pasta, (optional) cooked, drained & rinsed with cold water
Marinade: whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Reserve for final dressing.
In a large pot as if making soup combine 1 onion, unpeeled & quartered, 1 fennel or leek quartered and leaves cut in 4 inch chunks, bay leaf, several peppercorns, 1 teaspoon salt. Be sure enough water is in pot to cover chicken. Bring to a boil. Cover & turn electric element off or turn gas element to lowest setting. Allow to sit 10 minutes if boneless and 20 minutes if with bones. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Save the broth for soup or for cooking broth. Continue to simmer with the lid off to reduce volume. Strain and refrigerate or freeze broth.
Remove skin, bones, break up meat when cool enough to handle. Do not cut with a knife. Chicken should be varying sized pieces.
Toss in olive oil until covered lightly. Add remaining ingredients. Toss in Marinade.
Serve cold. One day in frig enhances flavor.