Mediterranean Poached Chicken Salad

photo 9Serves 6

This chicken salad is juicy, tasty and wonderfully combines Mediterranean flavors. Poaching the chicken is part of the trick here and it brings the added benefit of leaving you with a pot of delicious poaching liquid that you can use as a base for a risotto or soup. So far, it has always been a crowd-pleaser and it also stocks well in the unlikely case of any left-overs.

Ingredients:
4 boneless chicken breast, skin on
1 cup white wine
1 tsp sea salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
Dresssing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup each lemon and orange juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup basil or mint leaves
2 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup small black olives
Salt and pepper to taste
To finish:
1 rosted red capsicum
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 x 14 oz cooked white beans, rinsed and drained
Handful of rocket salad
1/4 cup basil or mint leaves

Instructions:
Put chicken breasts in a large pot with the wine, salt, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns. Add enough water to cover the chicken.
Bring to just below boiling point, then reduce heat to low and poach until the chicken is just cooked (internal temperature to just about 165ºF, approximately 15-18 minutes).
Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let chicken sit in poaching liquid, approximately another 20-30 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, shred into long strips.
Discard the skin and any fat and strain stock and freeze to use later for soup or risotto.

Dressing:
Blend olive oil, zest, juices, garlic and herbs in a food processor and then tip into a large bowl (with lid).
Add chicken strips, capers and black olives. Mix well and season to taste. The chicken can be covered and refrigerated overnight for flavors to meld.

To serve:
Remove salad from fridge about 30 minutes before serving.
Toss with red bell pepper, spring onion, fennel, white beans, rocket salad and herbs and transfer to a serving platter.

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