Quick Poached Chicken Salad with Basil Mayonnaise

This is another quick recipe, perfect for week nights. I don’t know why but if you’re scared of making mayonnaise….don’t be – as for some reason I’ve always had success with this recipe which doesn’t happen that often. The mayonnaise and shredded chicken also works well as a tasty filling for a nice crusty baguette – good picnic lunch – just bring the chicken/mayo mixture and spoon it into baguettes when you’re ready to eat.

I started getting into poaching chicken last year and have been a bit obsessed ever since…steaming is a good technique too, I love the way it shreds so easily. I also like to add chicken thighs to stews as when cooked slowly it just falls off the bone.

Feel free to mix this recipe up a bit, some add grapes, some roasted veggies or bacon – this is my version and is adapted from Alice Storey’s recipe in ‘Gourmet Traveller’ magazine.


Ingredients Serves 2

  • ½ litre of chicken stock
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 40g walnuts – toasted
  • 150g long green beans
  • Salad leaves, such as witlof (or whatever you like)
  • 50g watercress sprigs or other shoots
  • Crusty bread – to serve
  • 1 handful of crispy fried shallots to scatter

Basil Mayonnaise

  •  1 med-large bunch of basil
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice – or to taste

Heat oven to 160°C and bring the stock to a simmer over a medium heat in a saucepan. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for 5 minutes on low before turning off the heat and leaving them in the stock to cool (about 20 minutes).

Scatter walnuts on an oven tray and bake for about 5 minutes until golden, shaking occasionally. Remove and set aside to cool.

blog 2

Prepare a bowl of ice cold water. Boil a saucepan of water and dip in the basil, blanching it for about 30 seconds then drain and refresh in the cold water. Keep the water on the boil at this point and the icy water for the beans! Drain and gentle squeeze out excess water.

Use a food processor to process the basil, yolk, vinegar and mustard until well mixed then add the olive oil in a very thin and steady stream – with the motor running. Now season to taste and adjust the viscosity with lemon juice/warm water until you have it as you want it.blog 3

Blanch the beans in the boiling water for about 2 minutes and refresh in the cold water. Drain well and add to a large bowl with the salad leaves and watercress. Coarsely shred cooled chicken and coarsely chop walnuts and add them to the salad.

Drizzle over mayonnaise and serve with some nice crusty bread. Reserve the chicken stock to use another time, I often freeze it until I need it.

Crusty Bread


5 Comments Add yours

  1. April Murray says:

    You’re making me hungry!! Can’t wait to see more recipes, glad I found your blog 🙂
    -April from The Thin Kitchen

  2. Pang says:

    What a great recipe 🙂
    I need to try it.

  3. Agreed that homemade mayo is simple enough. It’s so so so worth making. I hate regular mayo but was converted on making it myself – what a clever additions basil is! Will have to try this

  4. katiebonken says:

    Thanks for the comments – try adding the basil mayonnaise to sandwich fillings too, works a dream!

  5. I love making mayonnaise at home, it is so much deeper in flavor. But here in the US raw eggs have become a taboo. I wonder if this is something that you think about, or are the fears a little overblown.

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