Warm Chicken and Fennel salad

Make little cheese pastry pinwheels for a textural contrast to this brilliant summer salad
By Rachel Allen
Warm Chicken and Fennel salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: plus 2-3 hours resting time
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: easy


For the chicken salad:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken, approximately 1.5-2.25kg or leftover roast chicken
  • 2 oranges, segmented without any peel or pith, see the cooks tip
  • 2 fennel, cut into 5mm slices and fronds reserved
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • ½ lemons, juiced and zested
  • 4 large handfuls salad leaves

For the pinwheels:

  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp dried yeast, 15g fresh yeast or 7g sachet of fast-action yeast
  • 375 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 75 g mozzarella
  • 75 g parmesan
  • 75 g pesto or tapenade

Tips and Suggestions

How to segment an orange: Using a small, sharp knife and working over a bowl to catch the juices, cut off the ends of the orange, then carefully cut away the peel and pith in a spiral until you have a peeled orange with only flesh and no pith. Next carefully cut along the edge of each segment, leaving behind the membrane and freeing a wedge of flesh from the pith.

Instead of segmenting the oranges, you can if you wish cut each peeled orange into slices horizontally to make round slices.


1. For the chicken salad: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the chicken in a roasting tin, drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 1½ 1¾ hours or until cooked through.

2. While the chicken is cooking, you can start preparing the salad. Place the orange segments, including any juiced collected, fennel slices, parsley, lemon juice, zest and the remaining olive oil into a bowl. Toss together gently and season with salt and pepper.

3. When the chicken is cooked, allow to rest somewhere warm (such in as the oven, with the heat switched off) for 5 minutes, then carve into pieces and tear or cut these into roughly bite-sized chunks.

4. Add the chicken to salad and drain off a little of the liquid from the dish and use to dress the salad leaves in a separate bowl, then place the leaves in the middle of a large serving plate. Tip the chicken mixture around the salad, then scatter over the reserved fennel fronds to serve.

5. For the pinwheels: In a measuring jug, mix 215ml warm water with the sugar and yeast and leave to stand in a warm place ?for 5 minutes or until the mixture is creamy. If using fast-action yeast, there ?is no need to let the mixture stand.

6. Sift the flour and ½ teaspoon salt into a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric food mixer fitted with a dough hook, and make a well in the centre. Add the olive oil to?the yeast mixture, then pour into the well and mix to a loose dough, adding extra water if needed.

7. Knead for about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth?and springy to the touch. If kneading in the electric food mixer, 5 minutes is usually long enough. Grease the bowl with olive oil and put the dough back into it, then cover the top tightly with cling film and place somewhere warm to rise until doubled?in size. This may take up to 2 or even 3 hours on a cold day.

8. Meanwhile, grease a large baking sheet with olive oil and mix together the two grated cheeses in a bowl. When the dough has doubled in size, transfer to a work surface dusted in flour. Sprinkle some flour over the dough and roll it out into a rectangle measuring roughly 20x25cm.

9. Spread the tapenade or pesto over the dough to cover it, then roll up like a Swiss roll, starting at one of the longer edges. Cut the rolled-up dough into 20 even-sized slices, then place, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet, well spaced apart, and sprinkle each one with the cheese. Set aside and leave to prove for 2030 minutes or until doubled in size.

10. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C/gas 6. When the pinwheels have doubled in size, place in the oven and bake for 1015 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.

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