About this recipe:Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is a favourite ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Available from most large supermarkets, it adds a nutty taste and thick creaminess to the dressing for this colourful and nutritious chicken salad. Serve with warmed crusty rolls.
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts (fillets), about 300g (10 1/2 oz) in total
360ml (12 fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
1 small bunch of fresh tarragon
1 small lemon
3 black peppercorns
2 tbsp tahini
1 head chicory, about 150g (5 1/2 oz)
140g (5 oz) baby spinach leaves
30g (1 oz) flaked almonds, toasted
salt and pepper
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Method Prep:25min › Cook:15min › Ready in:40min
Put the chicken breasts in a shallow pan, in one layer, and pour over the stock. Remove the tarragon leaves from the stalks and set them aside. Lightly crush the tarragon stalks with a rolling pin to release all their flavoursome oils, then add to the pan. Using a vegetable peeler, remove a strip of zest from the lemon and add this to the pan together with the peppercorns.
Set the pan over a moderate heat and bring the stock to the boil. Reduce the heat so the stock just simmers gently and cover the pan. Cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is white all the way through.
Remove the chicken breasts using a draining spoon and leave to cool on a plate. Strain the stock into a jug and discard the tarragon stalks, lemon zest and peppercorns. Set the stock aside. When the chicken has cooled, cut it into thick strips.
Put the tahini into a mixing bowl and gradually whisk in 4 tbsp of the reserved stock to make a smooth, creamy dressing. If the dressing is a bit thick, whisk in another 1–2 tbsp of the stock. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and stir it into the dressing. Chop enough of the tarragon leaves to make 1 tbsp, and add to the dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the chicory across on the diagonal into slices about 1 cm (1⁄2 in) thick. Arrange the chicory and spinach in a large salad bowl.
Peel the oranges, then cut between the membrane into segments. Scatter the segments over the salad leaves, followed by the toasted almonds. Place the chicken strips on top, and spoon over the tahini tarragon dressing. Serve immediately.