A little too nippy for salad days but warm potato, smoked chicken, salted caramelised walnut, apple, salad leaves and creamy avocado really hits the spot for a tasty treat of a lunch writes Sandra Tate…I’m in the habit of making the most of my chicken. I buy a plump bird on a weekly basis that I joint myself – removing legs, thighs and wings for one meal, the breasts for another, and the carcass goes into the pot with vegetables for stock. This week the very plump breasts went into the Bradley Smoker and provided me with enough super-juicy and tasty smoked chicken to feed four for lunch.
To Cure & Smoke the Breasts
First make a brine by dissolving 75g sea salt + 25g soft brown sugar in 100ml of boiling water, once dissolved add a further 400ml of cold water in a snug container and mix. Immerse the chicken breasts and leave for about 30 minute, no more than an hour, and then remove, rinse thoroughly and dry on kitchen paper. Set the Bradley Smoker to a cabinet temperature of 140°C/280°F and add applewood bisquettes to the stack. Place the breasts skin side up on a wire rack and smoke for 1 hour or until you have an internal temperature of 72°C + when probed at their thickest part. Remove, allow to cool, wrap and store in the fridge until needed.
Lunch for 4 of warm, sweet, salty & smoky chicken salad
For the salad, make a dressing by mixing 1 tsp Dijon mustard with 1 tbsp white Balsamic vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil. The dressing should be thick and creamy. Set aside. Slice the smoked chicken breasts thinly and set aside. Place 150g walnut halves in a heavy based frying pan over medium heat, cook for a few minutes to roast them then add 30g butter and 30g sugar – toss to melt and as soon as the sugar browns remove from heat, salt lightly, and scatter onto kitchen paper to cool. Boil a couple of handfuls of small salad potatoes to tender, drain. You will also need 1 large apple, cored & sliced, and 1 medium avocado, stoned, peeled & sliced.
Now assemble a salad by dividing the potatoes between warmed plates, scatter with slices of avocado, apple, salad leaves and walnuts – top it all with the thinly sliced smoked chicken and a few drops of salad dressing. Serve.