Has it ever happened to you that you decide you need to make some changes to your life style and buy stuff to support that decision? And a while later, end up with stuff you wonder what to do with? That is exactly what happened to me with the cans of chicken breast. I decided that I needed to eat more protein and a big pack of them. Soon, very soon I would have to admit, I got fed up with that plan. After all, how much chicken salad or stir fried chicken can you eat? I needed something new to try for that last one can of chicken, before it even got anywhere near the sell-by date.
That is when idea struck. I had always liked the look of the moulded salads. Moulded as in ‘prepared in a mould’… not attacked by that green-black stuff that grows on the walls of abandoned houses. What better time to attempt that looking-good-don’t-know-how-it-tastes dish with a can of chicken that I don’t care much about! So two stones, one bird… two birds, one stone… whatever… here I was making a cool moulded chicken salad on a hot summer day.
Of all the pictures I had seen of moulded chicken salads, the ones I like best were green ones. Don’t know why. Maybe because the words ‘green’ and ‘chicken’ are irrevocably associated in my mind. When we were kids, one of our neighbours used to keep chickens. And my little bro used to spot one of the chickens and call it green chicken! At that point, I had no idea that the kid is colour blind! Fortunately, he is in a field of work where there is not much danger of confusing red with green; as a CEO, all the green he cares about doesn’t come in red at all! 🙂
And a pale green very well represents the idea of cool too. Problem right there… I’m totally against using artificial colours for food. What ingredient will give me a pretty green? Spinach, what else! So I blended a few spinach leaves with water and sieved the liquid through a muslin cloth. Tada… instant natural green colouring!
With that problem solved, it was easy to zero in on the rest of the ingredients. Of course, celery… what is a chicken salad without celery? And scallions for that extra shade of green… pickled jalapenos to add a bit of spice. A few artichoke hearts, from a jar, for a hint of tanginess. And as I didn’t want to go too strong on the chicken, a few boiled eggs to add body. A bit of mayo to give it creaminess and gelatine to keep it all together. It’s all done!
Once you have finalized the ingredient list, it’s quite simple… Just prepare the base by mixing the gelatine with the juice and mayo. And add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly, but gently.
Pour the mix into a mould and keep in the refrigerator, covered with cling wrap, at least for three hours. And there you go… slice and serve with toasted baguette slices. A perfect Sunday lunch!
I have to say… this dish turned as a total surprise! It had that cool look and a taste to match. Very refreshing and extremely tasty!
- 12 oz canned chicken breast
- 4 eggs
- 4 celery ribs
- 1 bunch (at least 4 in a bunch) scallions
- 4 artichoke hearts, pickled in oil
- 1 tbsp pickled jalapenos
- ½ cup fresh spinach leaves
- ¾ cup olive oil mayonnaise
- 3 ¼ oz envelopes unflavoured gelatine
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Boil the eggs till firm, around three minutes. Peel and chop them into bite size pieces and keep aside.
- Chop the celery ribs into small pieces.
- Thinly slice the artichoke hearts.
- Mince the jalapenos roughly.
- Blend the spinach leaves with one cups of water. When thoroughly ground, sieve the liquid through a fine meshed sieve overlaid with a muslin cloth. Add enough water to make up to two cups of green juice.
- Sprinkle the gelatine over the green juice. Let stay unstirred for five minutes.
- Beat the gelatine into the green juice till well mixed and no grains of gelatine remain.
- Add the mayonnaise to the green juice and mix well.
- Add the remaining ingredients one by one, to the green mix and stir gently after each addition.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as required.
- Mix well and pour into a five cup mould.
- Cover the mould with cling wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
- When it time to serve, unmould the salad by placing the mould in warm water up to to the brim.
- Place a plate on top of the mould and turn upside down. The salad will slide onto the plate.
- Serve with toasted baguette slices. Perfect for lunch on a hot summer day!