Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pressed Chicken

I would call this chicken mousse so my readers would know that it is a cold dish that uses gelatin. It is a good summer recipe, and However, in South Carolina it is known as pressed chicken. Making this in the confines of the apartment kitchen presented certain challenges. One was the knife situation.
The apartment has no decent knives, or indecent knives for that matter. What it has is a Gerber carving set donated by me to the cause last summer when I was dismantling my parents' house. Now, as excellent as Gerber knives are, they are not suited to chopping and mincing. The blades are too thin. This recipe requires a lot of chopping and mincing. Also, there is the issue of the whipped cream. The apartment lacks an egg beater.
Since this recipe has to chill several hours, I decided to be organized. I began at 8:00 am chopping up the chicken breasts I had poached the previous day when Mommio came to dinner. I wasn't organized enough to hard boil the eggs at the same time, so I set them to boiling as well. I went on to the celery and green pepper, when I discovered the shortcomings of the Gerber knives. You can't do the thing where you put the palm of your hand on the top of the blade and rock the blade back and forth chopping the veg up fine.
When I came to the whipped cream, first I tried to whip it in a bowl using a fork. My husband can do this with egg whites, and if I wasn't so lazy, I probably could too. Then, I had a brain wave, and got out the blender. I remember my mother doing this, and saying you had to be very careful, or you would end up with butter. Well, she was right. I ended up with butter. The butter went into the meat veg mix, and I added more mayonnaise to hold things together.
It turned out very well. The gelatin did not separate. A handsome dish that would be just the thing to serve when your college roommate comes to Sunday lunch.

Pressed Chicken

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup boiling chicken broth
2 cups cut-up or diced cooked chicken
2 cups diced celery
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated onion
1/2 cup blanched almonds split
1/2 heavy cream whipped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup green pepper, finely chopped
6 hard cooked eggs, chopped or left whole
salad greens

1. Soak the gelatin in the water. Add the broth and stir to dissolve the gelatin.
2. In a bowl mix together the chicken, celery, salt, black pepper, lemon juice, onion and almonds. Fold in the cream, mayonnaise, green pepper and dissolved gelatin.
3. If the eggs are chopped, fold them into mixture. Pack mixture into a lightly oiled mold or loaf pan. If the eggs are left whole, pack half the mixture into mold or pan, arrange eggs length-wise on top and pack in remaining mixture.
4. Chill several hours. Unmold on a bed of greens.
Yield four servings.

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