Do you despise rubbery, tasteless chicken? I do! The only solution I’ve found that renders succulent, slice-able chicken for salads or Alfredo or whatever (without confiscating the choice parts of a whole roast chicken at the table for “later”) is poaching. Although come to think of it, that first method is “poaching” too… but let’s move on.
When chicken breasts — even the boneless, skinless variety — are submerged and cooked at the gentlest of simmers (I’m talking barely a bubble) over the lowest heat possible, magic happens! Plus, you can “influence” the chicken’s flavor by whatever you throw in to simmer along with it. (I believe the proper term is infuse.)
For this batch I alternated whole carrots and celery stalks, chunks of onion, and a couple of garlic cloves in my Dutch oven, laid the chicken breasts on top (so as not to cook them too quickly on the bottom of the pan — the higher off the heat, the better), added a half-dozen black peppercorns, several sprigs of fresh parsley, a sprinkle of sea salt and a bay leaf topped with enough cold water to cover all of the above. Let the poaching begin!
Granted, it takes a bit of patience, but the tender results are worth your time (and mine) — not to mention more chicken stock for the freezer. Win, win! And hey, how ’bout those frozen blueberries… I feel a salad coming on. (I love visual reminders, don’t you?)
Poached Chicken, Mango, Avocado, and Blueberry Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
Assorted greens (I used a “bagged mix” but anything with arugula is fine by me)
1 cup diced mango
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen, obviously)
Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
(adapted from Jodee Wieland’s “Delicious Homemade Honey Mustard Vinaigrette recipe here — thanks, Jodee!)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard (Gulden’s or Grey Poupon)
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (the real deal)
3 drops hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot or Louisiana style hot sauce) (no doubt I used more… let’s just say “to taste”)
1 small clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper & sea salt (ditto on “to taste”)
Assemble salad greens in the bottom of a large shallow bowl.
Top with artfully arranged slices of poached chicken, mango, avocado, and blueberries drizzled with freshly squeezed lime juice.
Pour on the Maple Mustard Vinaigrette and enjoy!
There’s nothin’ complicated about this salad — just start slicin’ and dicin’ whatever’s in your fridge for your very own flavor fest and throw on a tasty vinaigrette — but, please take the time to properly poach your chicken first.
Enjoying weekend wonders,