Papaya Salad with Smoked Chicken & Pistachio Pesto | Grapevine Magazine

Papaya Salad with Smoked Chicken & Pistachio Pesto

Prep time: 35 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Smoking Time: 3 hours 30 min
Difficulty: Easy

Makes 4 servings

Papaya Salad with Smoked Chicken & Pistachio PestoIngredients

For Smoked Chicken
1 whole chicken, giblets removed
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In Addition
Smoker grill set up for in-direct grilling
Lump charcoal
Fruit wood chips (soaked in water for 30 minutes before using)
Instant-read meat thermometer

For Pistachio Pesto

½ cup (125 ml) good-quality olive oil, plus extra as needed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 ½ cups (350 ml) basil leaves, lightly packed
¼ cup (60 ml) shelled roasted pistachios, plus extra for sprinkling
¼ cup (60 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch kosher salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For Papaya Salad
2 ripe papayas, peeled, halved and deseeded
2 cups (500 ml) sliced fresh strawberries
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
450 g (16 oz) cooked smoked chicken, thinly sliced
110 g (4 oz) mixed greens
1 fresh lime, sliced (for garnish)


For Smoked Chicken
In a large pot, cover chicken with a salt-water brine (salted water should have the approximate saltiness of sea water). Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper

Prepare the grill and light the charcoal. If using a side smoker box, place the lit charcoal next to the side vent door, then stack the unlit charcoal going towards the grill (not on top of the already-lit charcoal). Allow the smoker temperature to get between 120ºC to 150ºC (250°F to 300°F). Place the chicken in the smoker and close door.

While smoking, adjust the vents from time to time to keep the cooking temperature between 120ºC to 150ºC (250°F to 300°F). Two or three times during the smoking process, add a handful of wood chips on top of the lit charcoal. (Once every hour or hour-and-a-half works well).

Cook until the thickest part of the breast meat measures around 77ºC (170°F) on an instant-read thermometer, usually about 3 ½ hours.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the smoker and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

For Pistachio Pesto
In the bowl of a food processor, combine olive oil, garlic and basil. Secure lid and pulse until the basil is roughly chopped, about 6 to 8 times. Add remaining ingredients, secure lid once again and pulse about 6 times or until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse purėe. Add a little extra olive oil if the pesto is too thick. (May be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. )

For Papaya Salad
Slice the prepared papaya lengthwise into thin wedges. Divide the sliced papaya, strawberries, chopped onions, sliced chicken and mixed greens among serving plates. Garnish with sliced lime and drizzle with pesto. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and serve!

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