Having some cooked chicken on hand is always a good idea. Poach four chicken breasts at once and use two of them to make this delicious lunch or dinner salad. It’ll keep refrigerated for several days.
2 poached chicken breasts (about 1–1½ pounds total), well chilled; instructions below
¼ cup mayonnaise (Best Foods or Just Mayo)
¼ cup sour cream
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup red grapes, halved (seedless or seeds removed)
Shred or chop the cooled chicken breasts and put in a mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream and stir with a spatula to combine. Stir in the chopped celery and halved grapes. Chill until ready to plate with fresh salad greens (Terra Greens has a beautiful and delicious mix available at local farmers markets and Root Cellar Foods online market), a drizzle of slightly sweet vinegar (like the fruitinfused white balsamics from Olivelle), freshly ground black pepper, and perhaps a pinch of flaky salt.
Poached Chicken Breasts
Up to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
4 quarts (16 cups) water
¼ cup kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, cut in half
Pound each chicken breast between a fold of plastic wrap or parchment paper to a uniform thickness, approximately ¾ inch. To a large stockpot add water, salt, and bay leaf, squeeze in both lemon halves, and add the rind as well. Set a steamer basket in the stockpot and place the pounded chicken breasts in a single layer on the steamer. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bring stockpot just barely to a boil (minimum temperature 175°F, higher is OK), cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let stand for 20 minutes, which will delicately cook the chicken. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach at least 160–165°F. Transfer chicken to a plate, let cool, then refrigerate until ready to use.