Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Picnic chicken salad

Today I thought I try and recreate the old picnic staple of chicken salad. I had already poached a chicken for 12 hours, which left me with a litre and a half golden bone broth and a lot of cooked meat. After that amount of simmering there was no doubt the chicken was well and truly cooked, albeit slightly bland as poached chicken generally is. It needed to be mixed with some interesting flavours to liven it up a little. Now as I couldn't bulk it out with elbow macaroni it needed some other additions. Languishing in the fridge (amongst other dubious furry green objects!) was a small, slightly wrinkled kohlrabi and a small head of broccoli. I figured I could use these along with the old faithfuls of celery, green onions and freshly made mayonnaise to make it extra tasty.

As I  am hypothyroid, I have been advised not to eat raw cruciferous vegetables as they have been shown to inhibit thyroid function due to chemicals in them called goitrogens. Cooking or steaming the vegetables destroys these chemicals, so to err on the side of caution I blanched the broccoli and kohlrabi for about a minute in boiling water and then drained them in cold to stop them cooking further. The short cooking time doesn't make them soft and of course you can leave your broccoli and kohlrabi raw if you have no thyroid issues.

This dish keeps well and even benefits from sitting overnight in the fridge to give the flavours a chance to meld together. Use a whole chicken, double the other ingredients and bring this to your next potluck and watch everyone wolf it down. Once they taste it, they won't even realise that it hasn't got the macaroni in it and even better you can eat it safe in the knowledge that it's whole 30 approved, paleo and gluten free.

Ingredients serves 4-6
1/2 of a whole cooked chicken, skin removed and chicken shredded into small pieces
4 sticks of celery finely chopped  (I prefer mine this way, if you like chunks then go for it!)
2 green/spring onions, finely chopped (use all the onion including the green part)
1 small head of broccoli cut into small pieces (and blanched for 1 minute in boiling water-optional)
1 small kohlrabi coarsely grated (and blanched for 1 minute in boiling water-optional)
1/2 red onion finely sliced
1/2 cup fresh mayo, (this is a great foolproof recipe from Sarah Fragoso, watch how easy it is to make)
fresh chives
freshly ground sea salt.

Set a pan of boiling water on the stove over high heat if you wish to blanch the broccoli and kohlrabi, (If not go ahead and use these raw). Finely chop the broccoli and coarsely grate the kohlrabi, add to the boiling water and let it cook for one minute. Strain and rinse with cold water to prevent it cooking any more and becoming soft.

Finely chop the celery and green onions and thinly slice the onion. Shred the cooked chicken with a fork and set aside.

Freshly poached chicken, buy a whole deli chicken if you want to save time
Mayo with fresh chives, once you taste it you'll never go back to the stuff in the jar

In a large bowl mix together the shredded chicken, the broccoli and kohlrabi, along with the celery, green onions and red onion. Add the mayo and stir well to combine. Sprinkle over some freshly chopped chives and don't be afraid to be generous with the salt. The chicken is quite bland and the salt helps to bring out all the flavours of the vegetables. If in doubt add a little salt, let it rest a while then taste again and add more if needed. Allow to rest covered with cling film in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight is better. Serve on lettuce leaves, spooned over salad, or do as I do and eat it greedily by the spoonful straight from the fridge!!

1 comment:

  1. I was very interested to read about the goitrogens. My last blood test showed that I might have an under active thyroid, though I have no symptoms.

    Great blog thanks.