Looking for a winner in tomorrow's Melbourne Cup? Try these luscious chicken sandwiches - perfect for soaking up the beer and bubbly. They're also good for the forthcoming silly season (can you believe it's almost upon us?), and to take on summer picnics. And they're versatile because you can make them with either chicken or turkey (or hard-boiled eggs) .
- chicken or turkey breasts - 1kg, trimmed of fat and sinew
- water - 1.75 litres
- dry white wine - 250ml
- bouquet garni - parsley, thyme, bayleaf (tied together)
- whole black peppercorns - 6
- chives - 1 bunch, snipped with scissors
- fresh parsley - 3 tablespoons, finely chopped
- fresh dill - 3 tablespoons, finely chopped
- spring onions (white part only) - 3, finely sliced
- celery - 1 long stick, diced
- Dijonnaise (or use mayonnaise) - 1 cup
- lemon juice - a squeeze
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- unsalted butter - at room temperature
- good-quality white or brown sandwich bread - 28 slices
Makes 14 whole sandwiches, 42 fingers or 56 squares.
Place the chicken or turkey breasts in a saucepan with the water, wine, bouquet garni and peppercorns. Bring to boiling point, turn down heat and simmer very gently for 10 – 15 minutes (the water should barely shudder), or until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken from liquid and strain.
When cool, cut into pieces and pulse in the food processor until roughly chopped. Place chicken in a bowl with remaining ingredients (except for the bread and butter). Combine well and season to taste. Lightly spread the butter over each slice of bread. Spoon mixture onto buttered side and top with another. Remove crusts with a serrated knife and wrap the sandwiches in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use (this is an important step as it will make the sandwiches easier to cut). Cut with a serrated knife just before serving.
Tip: You can also add a small bulb of finely diced fennel and the leaves from a bunch of chervil (roughly chopped) to the sandwich filling, for an aniseed flavour. Chopped fresh, green, pistachios are also a nice addition.