Chicken Salad Niçoise

We found this recipe inside the package of the Purdue Soup & Stew Hen we bought at the supermarket, during the time when Purdue was introducing more-matured hens that would be better for long, moist cooking than for roasting. The recipe is printed on a flexible plastic index card with a tab in the top center. It includes the following description:
All Purdue Soup & Stew Hen recipes have one thing in common: a special cooking process. Stewing or braising is suggested since they cook with slow, moist, even heat.
Why such special treatment?
It’s simple. This particular Purdue bird is more mature than other chickens. So it has a richer, more pronounced chicken flavor. And there is only one method that brings out all the great taste that was bred in.
So remember, it takes a bird like the tasty Purdue Soup & Stew Hen to make a great stew. It just takes a little longer.”

Considering how persuasive they tried to be in this instance, they must’ve known it would be a tough sell. (As you know from not ever seeing them in the modern meat department, they could not convince enough people that they ought to buy one.) I remember it being a very good chicken.

1 stewing hen, prepared and cut into 8 pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
12 peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
1 package (10 oz.) frozen green beans, cooked and drained
2 cups cubed potatoes, cooked and drained
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Niçoise dressing:
¾ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 anchovy fillets, mashed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

lettuce for serving
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Place hen Into deep, heavy kettle or saucepan; add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Add water to almost cover bird. Bring to a boil over medium heat: never use high heat. Once liquid has come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 2 hours. Add salt; continue cooking for approximately 1 ½ hours more or until tender. Remove chicken from pot, then set aside until it is cool enough to handle. (Strain and save the broth for a future soup, refrigerating or freezing as desired.)

Discard skin and bones and cut meat into bite-size cubes. Toss together with beans, potatoes, onion, and parsley.

Blend together dressing ingredients; pour over salad and toss. Arrange salad almond lettuce-lined platter and garnish with cherry tomatoes


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