Chicken sandwiches

by Kathy Snowball | Cuisine issue #142
Serves: 24 small sandwichesLittle chicken sandwiches with a glass of Champagne - a marriage made in heaven. If pushed for time you can use a barbecued chicken and good prepared mayonnaise

1 onion, halved
1 carrot, chopped
1@1⁄2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for rubbing
4 black peppercorns
1.8kg chicken
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
200ml light olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 spring onion, finely choppedsalt and freshly ground black pepper
12 slices white bread
handful watercress leaves

To poach the chicken, place 4 litres of water in a large stockpot, add the onion, carrot, 1 stick celery, 1 teaspoon salt and the peppercorns, and bring to the boil. Truss the chicken, leaving a loop over the top to hold it with and rub the chicken all over with salt. Lower the bird into the simmering stock for 30 seconds then remove. Repeat this process 3 times.

Return chicken to the saucepan and poach over gentle heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let stand for 45 minutes.

For the mayonnaise, combine the egg yolks, mustard and lemon juice in a blender. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until thick and glossy. Season to taste.

Remove the chicken from the stock and plunge into cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking process and to set the juices. Strain the stock, simmer to reduce by half and reserve for another use.

Remove the breast meat and shred (reserve the legs and thighs for a salad). Combine the chicken, 6 tablespoons of mayonnaise, chives, remaining celery, and spring onion, and season to taste. Spread half the bread slices with a little more mayonnaise and some watercress leaves then spoon on 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture, keeping it away from the crusts. Top with the remaining bread slices. Using a serrated knife, cut off the crusts and cut the sandwiches into 4 fingers, squares or triangles.

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