Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Potato, Squash & Carrot Stew + Chicken Salad: 1 chicken, 2 dishes

Adding Cilantro, a hint of lime and a ripen Tomato, makes this soup and sandwich meal over the top.  I have made many chicken salad sandwiches in my lifetime and eaten just as many or more but, this version is my go to chicken salad, it hits every one of my taste buds that want to be touched. 

I love a bowl of hot soup by itself but, to also pair it with a delicious chicken sandwich, then all I can say is you have a winning combination.  I  was raised on soups and stews, anything that would feed us hungry vultures.  By watching Mama cook, taking mental notes (might I add) and also, with my years of feeding my own crew, I have learned to cook some very tasty one pot meals and a sandwich made the right way, is the icing on this meal.

You Will Need...

For poaching
3 pounds of chicken breast (boneless & skinless)
41/2 to 5 cups of water.
3 stalks celery
3 large carrots
2 onions
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (2 if they are small)

For Your soup...
5 cups poaching liquid, plus the carrots
6 cups of potatoes (will take 6 to 7, depending on there size)
3 1/2 cups of butternut squash (peeled & seeded)
1 large onion (or two small ones)
4 garlic cloves
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipolte chile pepper
Salt & fresh Cracked black pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons honey

For Your Sandwich

5 1/2 cups cubed chicken breast (cooled)
1 1/2 cups carrots
6 green onion
1 2/3 cups of mayonnaise
1 can of green chilies (.45 ounce can)
2 1/2 tablespoons of cilantro (fresh only please)
Juice from 1/2 of a lime
1/4 teaspoon of ground chipotle chile pepper
Parmesan shavings
2 tomatoes  (best they have, worth every penny)
6 hamburger buns
Butter (real please)

Start with Poaching...

In a 5 quart dutch oven place your chicken, onions (cut into 1/4's), carrots, celery, thyme, bay leaf and 'fresh' cracked black pepper.  After all is in, add your water to the pot, make sure you start out with cold water.

Place on the stove having your burner set on medium heat, right before it comes to a boil and you can see bubbles starting to rise up to the surface, turn the temperature down to a low simmer and cover with a lid.

Do not allow your chicken to come to a boil, if so then the vegetables and spices are not allowed the time to soak up all that goodness.  Also, you do not want over cooked chicken on the outside.

How long you cook your chicken will depend on a few things, 'your' stove and the size of chicken pieces you are using and actually, just the meat itself can change the temperature.

Mine takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.  Please invest in a meat thermometer, when inserted into your chicken breast and it has reached 165 degrees, it will be done. I check every 5 minutes after the first initial 20 minutes.

Cool it Down

When your chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, then it is done.

Pace your chicken breast in a bowl, add a few strips of lime zest, trying not to get any of the white, as it is bitter and then add the zest to your bowl of chicken breast and then top the chicken off with some of the poaching liquid.

Place your chicken breast in the refrigerator so it is able to cool down, nothing worse than adding mayonnaise to hot chicken when making chicken salad.

Strain your poaching broth into a bowl and add the carrots, the rest has met its doom, no flavor left so I discard them.  Place your broth in the refrigerator to cool down.  I would say in about 2 hours, the broth and chicken should be cooled down enough to continue on.  Placing your broth in the freezer will cool it down faster.

All Your Ducks in A Row

The best way to make this soup is to have all your ingredients ready to cook, sitting right next to you.  I find sitting at the kitchen table and cutting up vegetables is very relaxing.  Also having your spices already measured out and on a plate, will help in making sure you have all your spices you will need.

Drain your cooked vegetables from your poaching broth, saving the broth and carrots, set aside.

Peel and dice both your squash and potatoes.  Dice your onions in a medium dice and then slice the carrots that you just saved from your poaching liquid, slice cross wise, about a inch long.

Peel the skin off of your garlic cloves, cut in half and add to your spice plate.  Make sure your honey and pepper mill is close by.

Fry & Boil

Place your cubed potatoes into your cooking broth.  Cook for ten minutes after ten minutes has passed,

Add the carrots left over from your poaching broth.  Grab your potato masher and start to mash.

Keeping the heat on medium low.

In a frying pan, on high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil, allow the pan to get hot, then add your onion  and squash.  Stir fry for around 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes are up lower your heat to medium, add your spices and garlic cloves, stir for a minute, or until you are able to smell the garlic cooking, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on low, until the squash is tender but, not falling apart.

Please do not skip the cooling down process of your poaching broth, if you do then you will have cooked potatoes on the outside but hard un-cooked potatoes in the middle.

Simmer that Goodness
When mashing your potatoes and carrots remember that you want your soup to resemble a more rustic consistency.

Cook on simmer for 5 minutes, stirring once, make sure you hit the bottom of the pan with your spoon, so as your soup will not scorch.

Remove the garlic cloves from your squash & onions and then add to your potato and carrot pot.  Add your honey, taste and then adjust for salt and pepper.  Cook together on medium low for around 6 to 8 minutes.

I like to add a few tablespoons of heavy cream at the end, it adds some depth and makes for a more luxurious soup.  As they do say 'fat adds flavor'.  

Sandwich Time

Take your chicken out of the broth, discard the lime zest and add the broth back to your pot of soup and mix.  Dice your chicken in bite size chunks, add back to your bowl. 

Grate your carrots, slice your tomatoes, green onions add to your bowl of chicken.

Strain the green chili's in a small mesh strainer, take the back of a wooden spoon and push out all the juice.  Then add the juice of half of a lime over your green chili's and set aside.  Allow the chili's and lime juice to drain as you get the rest of the ingredients ready.

In a separate bowl add mayonnaise, ground chipolte pepper and cilantro, mix well.   After your mayonnaise is well incorporated, add to your chicken and toss in your green chili's. 

Buttered UP!

In a separate bowl add mayonnaise, ground chipolte pepper and cilantro, mix well.   After your mayonnaise is well incorporated, add to your chicken and toss in your green chili's.

In the mean time butter your hamburger buns, one side and plate on a griddle or a frying pan and toast one side of the bread.

I have found that using real butter makes this sandwich go from great to 'fantastic'.

Also, it is key to get a ripen tomato, I actually paid 4 dollars for these two (big) well ripened tomatoes, it is so key to making this sandwich as mouth watering as it is and also, salt & pepper your tomatoes as you add them to your sandwiches.

 Make it 'even' Better...

After you have topped off each hamburger bun take a chunk of parmesan cheese and a potato peeler, shave a few slices of parmesan cheese and place on top of your chicken salad and then top with a tomato slice and then top it off with your bun.

Now this would make a great lunch or supper for anyone, just add a few chips on the side.  If I decide to give my dear husband this sandwich for his lunch during his lunch break, I take a few extra steps.

I will toast the bread, make sure it has cooled down before I place it into a sandwich bag.  I place the chicken salad in a container and the tomato slice is also placed in a separate baggie.  This was my husband can put it altogether at work during his lunch break and not have a soggy sandwich.  Well worth the trouble.

Soup & Sandwich...

Yes the sandwich is delicious on its own, as is the soup but add them together and you have the perfect match.  Between the hot healthy soup, paired with this flavor packed sandwich your family will be begging you to make this meal every week.  Since I came up with this recipe, we now have it once a week.

For another delicious yet easy recipe...

Lentil & Vegetable Soup

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different, it is acceptable and appreciated) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

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