Thursday, June 10, 2010
Poached Chicken with Raw Kale Salad
One of my friends teased me about the garden-to-table posts appearing on Market to Mouth this month.
I think my days care-taking a property with vegetable garden, fruit trees, chicken and ducks is sounding almost too ideal to some.
Pottering about the garden this morning, taking pictures of kale, beet leaves, and celery; later taking pics in the kitchen of the meal I'd prepared with those vegetables, while in-between working on the computer, I was aware that right now, I'm living my ideal life.
These past two years I've significantly downsized, putting my household effects in storage, renting a small cottage in Chautauqua Park during the winter and house-sitting over the summer.
A simplified life really does have advantages, especially during these uncertain times. Maybe you've noticed, but it does feel as though the only certainty is change these days, and when one's life is uncluttered, it's much easier to ride the waves of change.
And so I'm enjoying my simple life, especially the garden-to-table lifestyle of preparing meals straight from the backyard.
Though today's meal idea does include chicken, in fact, the leftover Maverick Farm chicken breasts from the pack I bought and used in yesterday's Chicken with Chives, Peppers, Artichoke and Avocado.
Where yesterday I did a gentle pan fry with the ingredients on hand, today I poached the chicken on a bed of celery and to go with it, I prepared a raw kale salad. To prepare this meal, follow the slide show and method recipe below.
Poached Chicken with Raw Kale Salad
1) I picked several celery stalks from the garden along with some beet leaves and baby kale leaves. The first slide is celery and the second is red-beet leaves.
2) Find these vegetables and greens at your local farmer's market or Whole Foods market or any natural grocers.
3) Wash, drain and cut the celery into small pieces. Toss into a skillet.
4) Lay chicken breasts atop the chopped celery, and then some parsley atop the chicken, as well as some sliced lemon.
5) Add about a cup of white wine, or a combination of water and the juice of half a lemon to the skillet.
6) Place the lid on the skillet and cook on a low heat for about 15 mins or until the chicken is just done.
7) Using a spatula, remove the chicken breasts from the skillet and place them on a plate.
8) Pour the contents of the skillet, the celery, parsley and liquid, into a blender. Blend until smooth. And then pour the celery sauce through a strainer onto the plate around the chicken (pic at top).
Note: For a richer sauce, add roasted cashew nuts to the blender (they'll turn the sauce quite creamy). Straining the sauce is optional.
Raw Kale Salad
1) Place baby kale leaves into a salad bowl. Pour your choice of either olive, walnut or hazelnut oil over the greens -- just enough oil to coat the leaves.
2) Add a couple pinches of salt. If you have a gourmet salt on hand, like Himalayan or French Sea Salt or Grey Salt, use that. Massage the salt and oil into the leaves with your fingers, this will soften the kale, though baby kale leave are very tender so they don't need a lot of massaging.
3) Add a splash of balsamic vinegar or the juice of half a lemon, and gently work that into the salad.
To Serve: You can either bring the poached chicken breasts to the table on a platter, as in the picture at the top, with the accompanying kale salad in a bowl, or you can slice the breast and spread it around a plate lined with some of the sauce, with a portion of salad to the side.
In the slide show, you'll see that I sliced the breast and topped the pieces with a red-current jelly, though you could use a red-chili jelly or a fruit chutney atop the chicken.