I wanted to write something dramatic & romantic about this salad. I mean look at it? Who cares if it was just one dish out of 250 dramatic & romantic dishes on the table that night. That just looks good to me!
Well, I guess, to the untrained eye it can be construed as a pile of over boiled chicken breast with bloated raisins smashed on top. And maybe I'm the only one who can really look at & appreciate the time & effort it took.
Before I tell you about this venture let me just clarify that I did NOT find capons. Which I'm sure you knew already, is(and I did too once I googled it & nearly spewed coffee all over the computer) a castorated male chicken!! So yeah, I would've felt awful about using capons, as if their life wasn't bad enough already, poor guys!!
The recipe was roughly 2 pages long. I normally stay away from long lists & instructions but I couldn't help it, it was just fun from start to finish. I started this dish 4 days before the party. First off I prepared a broth with a bouquet garni of Italian Parsley, rosemary & laurel leaves (from my garden, and the neighbor's laurel tree, eh-hum), 10 whole black pepper corns, 2 onions, & 4 celery stalks, 4 carrots. I feel medieval already, grrr. Oh, mustn't forget the 1 kg worth of chicken wings.
After an hr or so the broth looked like that -- and it smelled sooo good! At this point I indulgently poured 1/2 a bottle of white wine in & simmered some more. (As if it didn't smell good enough already) Now comes the part where we give the chickens a nice warm bath (one at a time of course), for about one hour & then set for another 2 till cooled. Skimming off the top. See, this picture makes me want to skim, see that gunkus on the right side? Tsk tsk!
Now to dry off. Well, not so glorious looking now are we? Into the fridge and then stripped down to the bone. Of course I got to hog the broth strained & froze it and I'm saving it for a cool rainy day to make a great soup, just you wait. (though it stands great on it's own, with just a little sea salt, DH kept coming back for samples)
Oh goodie, here's my favorite part. I just felt so happy making this. And I will use this dressing regularly. Peeled the rind of 2 lemons & 2 oranges, 2 cinnamon sticks & 3 laurel leaves, 1 c of red wine vinegar, 1 c raisins, 1 tsp crushed pepper, 3 tbsp powdered sugar
Bring this all to a ever so slight simmer to infuse the vinegar, then leave to soak for a while, discard the laurel & cinnamon sticks. (or if you have a silly 2 year old let her walk around the house sucking on them saying "I'm eating cinanin bark"). Toss the chicken & dressing & let the flavors mature for 3 whole days. Yeah, you heard me, I guess that's the medieval part, huh? Garnished with 1 c of pine nuts, 1/2 c of chopped Italian parsley & 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil. If you happened to be there & taste this, I hope it was any good. I sure enjoyed it. It was the fact that the orange & lemon rind gave it an extra zing & the raisins were quite soaked through with the vinegratte that made me love it. Not to mention the chicken itself was tender & flavorful. Mind you, I don't know if I'll ever make it again. As you can imagine it's not a very cheap salad. But that's my story & I wanted to tell it.
Oh & PS: if any one has a good "why-did-the-castorated-male-chicken-cross-the-road" joke I'd love to hear it.