Cold Poached Chicken with Arugula Mayonnaise and Pickled Cherries
Seasonal greens and fruit plus some cold chicken add up to an ideal picnic meal. This works well as a composed platter, but you could also make a chicken salad, by folding in chopped chicken with chopped cherries and the mayonnaise or layer all three on a baguette for a sandwich. The pickled cherries can be made up to a few days ahead.
1½ pounds cherries, stemmed, pitted and halved
1¼ cups sugar
1½ cups white wine vinegar
¾ cup water
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock or broth
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup mayonnaise (homemade or store-bought)
2 cups arugula, finely chopped, plus a few cups whole leaves
2 tablespoons minced shallot
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
salt and pepper
¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional, for garnish)
- Make the cherries: Bring vinegar, sugar, and spices to boil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour over cherries and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to a couple of days.
- Make the chicken: Put the chicken into a pot where it fits snugly. Pour the stock over it and add the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and garlic to the pan. If the liquid doesn’t cover the chicken, add some water. Bring to a boil. Skim off any fat and scum, then lower the heat until the surface of the water is steaming and just shivering. Continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow chicken to cool in the pan.
- Meanwhile, make the arugula mayonnaise: Combine mayonnaise, arugula, shallot, parsley, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When it’s fully cool, remove chicken from pan. (You can reserve broth for another use.) If making ahead, you can refrigerate chicken until ready to serve. Cut chicken into eight pieces and remove the skin. Cut meat into slices.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. To serve as a platter, set chicken on a bed of arugula and drape mayonnaise over it. Arrange cherries on the side. Sprinkle pine nuts on top, if using.