How would you do braised chicken for sandwiches?
I'm stuck packing lunches for my roommate and myself this week and I'd like to up the ante sandwich-wise. I'm imagining dark meat chicken, braised and pulled off the bone, in a rich pan sauce, maybe with mushrooms, and served on a crusty roll with some kind of sauteed greens and sharp cheese. How would you make a dish like this?
I'd salt and pepper chicken thigh/leg pieces the saute in butter for about 3 or 4 minutes a side until they're golden brown. Then I'd remove the chicken and set aside to cool while, using the same pan, I sauteed some onion until translucent then add chopped mushrooms and cook until done. Next I'd add some chopped garlic pieces, saute for a few minutes longer but make sure the garlic didn't brown, and reduce the heat, add the chicken pieces back in along with a can of tomato sauce and an equal amount of chicken broth and cover the pan to simmer for half an hour to 45 minutes. Then I'd turn the chicken pieces over, add more pre-heated chicken stock if necessary and cook another 20 - 30 minutes at simmer.
Next I'd separate the chicken pieces from the sauce, cool the chicken pieces, remove and discard the skin, and remove the meat from the bones and chop only where necessary (it should pretty much fall apart all by itself) Then I'd combine the remaining sauce with a little butter in a pan and dredge the chicken in the preheated broth, then spread some of the sauce onto the cut sandwich bread, add the chicken and some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and some spinach leaves that have been sauteed just enough to wilt (not cooked to the point of being limp and lifeless) and then well drained. (Get rid of the stems before cooking).
Not sure why you want to add sauteed greens or cheese to the sandwich as, IMO, a crisp lettuce would add a nice crunch factor and a sharp cheese (especially if you use a lot of it) could be expected to over power the chicken, but it's your sandwich.
Pretty much as a braise as todao suggests. Although I would never put cheese anywhere near chicken. I'd certainly be including the mushrooms into the sandwich and a big handful of watercress.
I know you asked about a braise but when I read your post I immediately thought of a Vietnamese poached chicken and cabbage (or kimchee) recipe I make. Both Mai Pham and Andrea Nugyen have similar recipes which produce a quite tasty chicken. This is the technique:
Place whole chicken into a large pot, add enough water to cover the chicken. Don't cover the pot with a lid. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce to simmer, simmer for 15 minutes, Remove from heat, now add the cover, let chicken sit in broth for 1 hour. Sometimes I add a few aromatics to the poaching liquid and sometimes not. It's surprising...either gives the chicken has a fresh chicken flavor. I do leave the skin on during poaching..
Take chicken out of the liquid, and pull meat off bones (save for stock adding other ingredients). Heap the chicken into a roll smeared with an Asian condiment - or what ever suits you - and top with a slaw or kimchee...
If you don't want while meat, no reason not to use this method on a bunch of leg quarters. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and shred chicken. Meanwhile, boil down the broth into which you have returned the skin and bones. When it's reduced by half, remove and discard the skin and bones. Add chopped onions and mushrooms to the reduced broth and simmer some more, until the vegetables are very soft. Skim fat from the surface, add your preferred herbs/spices, adjust for salt and pepper, and stir in the shredded meat.
I've always poached chicken for sandwiches or salads. I use a mirepoix with the liquid and strain it out to create a great byproduct: a couple of cups of usable chicken stock.
Also, when packing sandwiches for later eating, I pack the fillina and bread separately so the bread doesn't get soggy.