Lemon Poached Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Poached Lemon chicken Salad~ A Stack of Dishes

When your day calls for chasing golf or tennis balls, and you would rather be in the garden, easy to make Lemon Poached Chicken Salad is a refreshing lunch with a surprise bonus.

We’ve owned our house for over three years now, though it wasn’t until this past June that we fully occupied it. Since my move in day there has been a flurry of nesting activity. We hired a painter to freshen the den and the kitchen, which tumbled on into coating every wall in the house. At one point I joked to Andrew, our painter, that I feared standing still for too long due to the risk of “needing paint” myself.

Lemon Broth~ A Stack of Dishes

Now, after three quarters of a year, we are fresh faced, furniture is properly placed, and the walls are hung with comforting art. It was time to conquer the garden.

It was always a scrubby thing with an oversized concrete parking pad in a very undersized diminished yard. There was erratic patches of angry grass, a cobbling of travertine stone pavers, and a rattle trap of a heating/cooling unit. To top it off, in the afternoons the sun comes around and beats down hard into our little corner. In Louisiana this is serious stuff. Last summer my poor herbs, which I emigrated from NYC, sagged and gasped as we tried to battle the unfamiliar elements, and in the end we both lost.

After many months of standing at the back door staring blankly out onto, what my mother would call, “Tobacco Road”, we hired a landscaper. This by far has proven to be one of the best things we have ever done. Within 2 weeks of our initial phone call they were back there with jack hammer and back hoe ripping out the nasty. They tilled and fertilized what lay beneath into a dark rich gold mine for our plantings.

Poached Chicken~ A Stack of Dishes

 What was once barren and harsh is now a lush secret garden. It’s so far removed from what was there before that it blows my mind. There are now layers and layers of plantings, the ragged stones now a magical pathway, and a warm wooden fence to shield and comfort. At the end of each day we are drawn back there with a glass of wine in hand to ease off the day.

Lemon chicken Salad~ A Stack of Dishes

Which brings me to this salad. We all have so much to do,  whether you have a garden or not. When I come up with a light and delicious recipe, which offers a bonus- you know I have to share.

Poaching chicken has never been high on my list. Poaching has never produced more than an insipid taking meat, until now. I recently purchased Donna Hay’s new book Fresh and Light where she has a base recipe for lemon poached chicken. The beauty of poaching is you can set the broth to boil, add your breasts, cover it, turn it off, and walk away. This allows the chicken to gently poach and infuse with the flavors. The lemon flavor of this method is delicate and light, but definitely there. So no bland bird, and just enough zing to bring something bright to a dish. {btw, the lemon thyme is from me new herb garden!}

And the bonus?? After the poaching, the broth is rich and lemony in a way that will make you swoon. It’s so amazing that I used it to make Lemon Broth with The Navels of Venus over on A Healthy Hunger. {the post to go up later today}

Lemon Poached Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
337 calories
22 g
106 g
8 g
45 g
2 g
561 g
536 g
7 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 337
Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 106mg
Sodium 536mg
Total Carbohydrates 22g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 7g
Protein 45g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 quart chicken stock
  2. 1 lemon sliced
  3. 4 sprigs lemon thyme
  4. 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  5. 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, but into equal sized pieces
  6. 6 cups sliced green cabbage
  7. 1 cup sliced celery with fronds
  8. 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  9. juice of one lemon
  10. generous pinch of salt
  11. generous grind of black pepper
  12. 2 tablespoons minced rind of the poached lemons
  1. In a large saucepan, place the stock, thyme, lemon and pepper corns and bring to a boil. Gently boil for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently poach for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for at least 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Remove the chicken and allow to cool.
  3. Strain the broth and reserve for future use.
  4. In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, pepper and minced rind.
  5. Arrange greens onto plates, slice chicken and place on top and serve with dressing.
Adapted from Donna Hay~ Fresh and Light
Adapted from Donna Hay~ Fresh and Light
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/


A Foodie Collection of Healthy Sunday Suppers

Now that the first buds are emerging on the trees, it won’t be long before our “butts” will be emerging in shorts and bathing suits.

I’ve put together a collection of Healthy Suppers so that everyone in your household can get in on the act of slimming and trimming. I hope you notice how beautiful and tasty healthy can be. (Which btw, is what A Healthy Hunger thrives on.)


*please note: this collection was requested of me from Foodie by Glam with the promise of compensation. But I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think you wouldn’t absolutely love it. 

Getting My Irish Up! Traditional Irish Soda Bread

irish soda bread20140314_0210

Oh the magic that is St Patrick’s Day! For me as a young adult it meant standing out in a miserably rainy and cold afternoon watching a parade of kilt wearers while bathed in the warmth and glow of Irish Whiskey. There is nothing like frozen toes while your cheeks blaze with an alcoholic glow. This experience, for an Irishman, is a quintessential metaphor for how life is lived. So much fun, while pretty much hitting yourself over the head with a hammer. Celebration and Struggle. Gotta love it.

The Watson Clan harkens back to Galway. I had always believed as a child that I had some Welsh and English blood in me, but it turns out that we are all a bunch of Irishmen.


In honor of my heritage I decided to bake up a batch of Irish Soda Bread- which like too many things- turns out to be more of an American invention rather than something my rosy cheeked Great Grandmother would have made.

The fact that most Irishman were of limited resources (that being pretty much what they raised or grew themselves), meant that fancy things such as raisins, or caraway seeds were not readily available in the pantry. But I say Pishaw! to all that- If you’re going to bend rules it can be for dried fruits- Green beer on the other hand is harder to swallow (pun most definitely intended).


As I was removing the loaf from the oven, my 18 year old Texas raised nephew, Justin, walked into the kitchen. Always curious and eager to learn, he asked me what it was that I had made. Never having heard of Irish Soda Bread,  it turned out to be a challenge to describe. Here’s what I came up with: [Read more...]