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Chicken, Pecan and Apple Salad with Grilled Polenta

Chicken, Pecan and Apple Salad with Grilled Polenta

Serves 4-6

2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
6 black peppercorns
1/2 brown onion
2 x 4cm pieces lemon peel
2 chicken breasts, on the bone
1/2 cup lightly roasted pecans, roughly chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, sliced into fine wedges
2 cups baby rocket
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
40g (1/2 cup) finely shaved pecorino

Polenta Fingers:
Olive oil for frying
2 cups milk
1 cup quick-cook polenta
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino

1. To make the polenta, add 2 cups water and the milk to a saucepan and bring to simmering point. Whisk in the polenta and cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Stir through the pecorino, season with salt and ground black pepper. Spread in a 20cm x 30cm lightly oiled baking tray. Place in fridge to cool.
2. To cook chicken, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add 1 tablespoon salt, the bay leaves, peppercorns, onion and lemon peel. When the water returns to the boil, add the chicken breasts and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from liquid and place in fridge to cool.
3. Cut the polenta in half lengthways, then into 10-12 fingers. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a frying pan over high heat and cook the polenta fingers 3-4 minutes each side or until golden.
4. Remove the chicken from the bones and shred it into a bowl. Add the pecans, apples, baby rocket and olives.
5. Combine the olive oil, vinegar and garlic, pour over the salad and toss. Serve with the polenta fingers and sprinkle with pecorino.

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