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Room temperature/cold chicken dish

I'm going to a ski potluck (unfortunately warm weather) on Saturday and signed up to bring a chicken dish which I think needs to be room temp or cool. Crock pot is iffy--I had problems w/ it last year w/ people pulling the plug, plus it will be warm. I'm leaning towards Chicken Marbella w/ less sugar or a salad w/ roasted veg, some grain (couscous, quinoa, ...), pesto like or balsamic dressing but my heart isn't set on anything. Does anyone have ideas? I'd be making it Friday, refrigerating overnight, bringing it on Sat in a cooler for lunch. I need it to be meat heavy and not mayo based, like a basic chicken salad. Thanks!

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  1. I love cold fried chicken. Very popular in the south for picnics, family reunions, dinner on the grounds, etc.

    9 Replies
    1. re: kengk

      That's what I was going to suggest, fried chicken.

      1. re: kengk

        Thanks, that was the first thing that crossed my mind but I'm REALLY bad at frying. I wish I could do a good one. I love good fried chicken.

        1. re: chowser

          You can do a cheater baked version. My mother has made this for over 40 years and there is never a bit left. She uses the chicken wing drummettes, but drumsticks are great. She melts butter (not spa food), and rolls the chicken pieces first in the melted butter and then into a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake until golden. Good hot or room temp and no frying. The cheese makes the coating crispy.

          1. re: chowser

            This might be heresy, but when folks here want chicken at a potluck, they pick it up at one of the supermarket delis, and everyone loves it. I picked up some baked wings today, very yummy.

            1. re: wyogal

              Yes, supermarket fried chicken is often excellent for this purpose.

                1. re: fourunder

                  We had a Popeye's here, but it wasn't open very long. Maybe it's a regional thing, but not many liked it.

                  1. re: wyogal

                    That's sad to hear...where is your region, if I may ask?

                    1. re: fourunder

                      Look at my name.... that's where i live. I see Popeyes in lots of airports (with long lines), but I wasn't fond of it.

        2. If it's not going to be hot, I would not do any wet chicken preparation.

          Really, fried chicken is by far the best way to go. Next best is Cornell chicken, which is excellent cold (especially if you marinate the chicken for at least a couple of hours rather than merely basting it). Pace the writer linked, I strongly recommend you do NOT follow the reduction in salt from 3 to 1 tablespoons if you are going to use this as a marinade rather than basting sauce; it acts as a brine (reducing the salt level makes more sense if you are lacquering the chicken with a basting sauce over and over because then you are building up a layer of salt).


          1. The couscous and quinoa is out of my area of expertise.

            I just read a recipe for a Greek pasta salad that we wanted to try. You could make it very heavy on the chicken and light on pasta. This had olives, different salume, pepperocini peppers, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, etc. with a vinaigrette. It would be good with chunks of spicy roasted chicken to replace the salume.

            1. One of my favorite chicken dishes is cold ginger chicken. It's basically a whole poached chicken cut up into pieces and served cold with a really yummy sauce of oil with really finely chopped green onion, chinese parsley, fresh ginger, salt and pepper.


              It's really popular in Hawaii, but if you're not used to the skin texture and eating the chicken on the bone, it can be off-putting, so you might debone and de-skin the chicken after cooking it and before serving.

              2 Replies
              1. re: akq

                That one has my vote but how about a dipping sauce of soy sauce+ginger juice+sesame oil+chopped scallion+ clove raw garlic+ splash of vinegar.

              2. Parmesan-Dijon Chicken breasts are GREAT at room temp:

                Take a large package of chicken breasts (bone-in is tastiest, but your call,), remove the skins, and cut each into 1/3'rds

                Mix 1 egg, well beaten with 2/3 cup of good dijon mustard.

                Roll in a mix of 1/2 bread crumbs, 1/2 finely grated real parmesan. a little fresh pepper, parsley, garlic powder.

                Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large pyrex in oven that is pre-heating to 375.

                When melted, add a sploosh of olive or canola oil to keep from burning, and tilt pan to coat the bottom all over. Put chicken pieces into the pan, skin side down, then quickly turn over so that they all have a bit of butter on their tops.

                Bake for 1/2 an hour until crispy and golden brown, and juices run clear.If you do boneless, check after 18-20 minutes. I don't do this, so not clear on quite how much time saved from taking off the bone...

                Cool. Serve at room temp with a sauce of 1/2 dijon/ 1/2 mayo on the side.

                Wonderful; easier than fried chicken, and more flavor.

                1. Here is my go-to potluck chicken dish, chicken roulade with pesto. Pound 4 boneless & skinless chicken breasts, spread with pesto almost to the edge (I like to use a red pepper pesto on half & a green pesto on other half of chicken breasts. If you do this, use two small pans.) Roll up from pointed end. Place in pan, seam side down,cover, chill in fridge 20 mins, or overnight.

                  Preheat oven to 350F. Put roulades in oven, cook 20-25 mins. I usually open the oven a couple of times & baste with the pesto that makes its way into the pan, this gives a nice look. Cool at least 10 mins before slicing like a jelly roll in 1/2 in slices. Fan out on serving platter, maybe with some greens/kale for deco. Good cold or room temp.

                  If I am traveling any distance, I bring the chicken unsliced in pan, slice & plate at event.

                  1. The Epicurious spicy oven fried chicken is excellent at room temperature. Similar to gingershelley's recipe above, with the added step of the buttermilk / hot sauce marinade.


                    1. Ina Garten's Chinese Chicken Salad is wonderful and served at room temp.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mcel215

                        I went back and forth on all the suggestions and finally decided on this one, a big part because I had almost all the ingredients but it was so easy to do. Delicious! It was the big hit of the potluck--people kept going back for seconds and were telling newcomers they had to try it. I did use green beans--Trader Joe's frozen haricots verts instead of asparagus since you can't find good asparagus right now. Thanks for the suggestion.

                        1. re: chowser

                          Hi chowser,

                          So glad you loved it. The first time had it was at a potluck and found it held up so well and that everyone raved about it. Happy to share, easy and delcious go to dishes. Ina Garten has a lot of those, that's for sure. BTW, I don't know what form of chicken you used, but a friend used a couple of rotisserie chickens and said they made this dish even easier. Thanks for the tip on the green beans. They are about .99 cents a pound compared to almost three dollars a pound for asparagus. :)


                          1. re: mcel215

                            I used two chickens and roasted them (doubled the recipe). I like the combination of dark and white meat. But, it did cross my mind that rotisserie chicken would be so easy, too. This one is a keeper!

                      2. The Silver Palate has a terrific lemon chicken recipe. I think it's in the original cookbook...but they did a streamlined version of it in the last cookbook. Very tasty. And I have always served it at room temperature....

                        1. Wow, these all sound awesome. I was leaning towards chicken marbella last night since it's made to be served at room temp or warm. I'm not sure what I'll do yet suggestions look tempting, and will see what's at the store but mcel215's link has a recipe for israeli couscous, celery, scallions and cranberries and I think it would be perfect w/ chunks of chicken. LOL, how can you pass on a recipe that calls for "big, fat, finishing oil"? Chicken salad looks really good, too, w/ the peanut based sauce. Thanks, everyone!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: chowser

                            If you are going to go with Chicken Marbella, you should know that Cooks Illustrated recently went back and updated it. I have not made either the original or the updated version but the updated one sounded as though they had solved some issues. Might be worth checking out. http://www.cookindineout.com/2012/01/...

                            ETA: there was a post on the updated version: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8219...

                            1. re: GretchenS

                              Interesting. They seem to have made it much more complicated, as usual. What I like about the original is that it's a quick and easy thing to do, though I do play w/ it and cut the sugar. Maybe I'll try that for home.

                          2. An Escabeche of Chicken would work well and it is meant to be severed room temp.
                            Either the Mexican style or the the Spanish are both great (only you know your audience).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chefj

                              That would be great--I wish someone would make that for me today. I did a posole last year that was well received but some people didn't like spicy.

                            2. WRAPPED HERB CHICKEN (delicious hot OR cold) I *think* I found it originally in Sunset magazine years ago.

                              3 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned & halved (you'll have 6 pieces/servings)
                              6 tbsp. chives, tarragon, chervil, chopped (or any fresh herb)
                              3/4 c. fresh lemon juice
                              6 tsp. onion powder
                              6 tbsp. butter
                              6 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

                              Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place each chicken piece on a large sheet of foil. Top each with 1 tablespoon chopped herbs, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon parsley. Fold foil tightly around chicken with double folds on each edge. Bake 30 minutes, or 'til juice runs clear.

                              I make this at least once every summer. Very tasty!