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Mediterranean-style Chicken Salad

Mediterranean Chicken SaladMr. S and I have been away and we returned to a heatwave; thank goodness for central airconditioning!  We like eating lighter meals when it’s hot out and tend to stick to the cuisine of the Mediterranean – think fresh, full of veggies, fruit, and low on meat.  When it’s hot out, the last thing you want to do is add heat to your kitchen. Poaching won’t raise the room temperature and it’s a healthier option, too.  It isn’t limited to poultry, as you can use fish as well as fruit.  When thinking of the Mediterranean cuisine, choose foods bright in colour which will help make for a more nutritional and balanced meal.

Use this recipe as a guideline.  Add more chicken breasts to the pot and use the next day in a sandwich or try these ideas here on how to use it as leftovers.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon of sea salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 star anise

extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon and 1/2 orange
1 clove garlic, minced
1 or 2 handfuls fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup olives, sliced into quarters (if using Kalamata or other large olives)

1 roasted red bell pepper, peeled and chopped (can use a jar of peppers)
400g canned white beans, rinsed and drained
a handful of rocket leaves

Place chicken in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover.  Add sea salt, garlic, bay leaf, and star anise.  Cover and bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and poach 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow the chicken to sit for a further 15 minutes; then remove from the stock.

When cool to touch, shred into strips and place in a large serving bowl.  Add bell pepper, beans, rocket leaves, capers, olives, garlic, mint.  Squeeze juice from lemon and orange over salad then toss to combine.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Strain the stock and freeze to use later as a base for soup or in a risotto.  The chicken can be covered and refrigerated overnight which will help develop the flavors.  Enjoy!