In Melbourne, chicken and mayonnaise sandwiches, cut into ‘ribbons’, have long been part of the standard light lunch or afternoon tea served at social functions, from christenings to funerals and much that occurs between those two bookends-of-a-life.
We’re pretty fond of a chicken and mayo sanger ourselves and Maggie takes great pride in putting them on a platter to take to an event, such as the recent first birthday party for Iris, one of our three grand-daughters.
Late last week, Iris was due here for lunch, en route to a flight to Hawaii with Sara, her mother. So, knowing how much she had enjoyed the sandwiches we took to her party, we prepared an encore batch. Here is a description and some photos of how we made them. And one of how Iris ate them!
After we buy some chicken breasts, Maggie trims off some of the bulk to produce pieces of even thickness; the trimmings go into the freezer until Maggie wants to make chicken and leek soup for her daughter’s family. The trimmed breasts go into a saucepan and we add some sliced spring onion and peeled ginger, a small handful of black peppercorns and a teaspoon of salt or chicken stock powder. We add just more than enough water to cover the breasts, bring it to the boil over medium heat and then simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. The chicken breasts go into a storage container and the poaching liquid is added through a strainer.
Next day, Maggie dices the chicken meat coarsely and tips it into a mixing bowl. The liquid goes into the freezer, to be used one more time; after that, it will have enough flavour to be used as chicken stock. While Maggie finely chops some chives and parsley leaves, I prepare the dressing using three parts mayonnaise, two parts light sour cream, a good 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper and a couple of generous pinches of sea salt. The dressing and herbs are added to the bowl and throughly mixed. Although we don’t measure the quantity of these ingredients exactly, the amount of herbs, mayo and cream would be about 1/4 cup, 3/8 cup and 1/4 cup, respectively. One cautionary note: the flavour of the chives will continue to leech into the sandwich filling for some time after they are made. So, don’t be surprised if any leftovers taste a bit strongly of chive the next day.
Maggie makes the sandwiches using a commercial sliced white bread with chia seeds and reasonable fibre content. She takes the bread from the freezer just before she is ready to start – this technique makes for a neat presentation – and smears each slice with some soft spread before adding a generous layer of the chicken filling. Once each whole sandwich is ready, she trims the crusts finely and cuts it into three ribbons. Just the right size for a hungry girl in her thirteenth month!