The Swan Coach House in Atlanta is the absolute perfect spot for lunch, parties, or any celebration. It has been an Atlanta fixture since 1967. I always order the Swan Coach House Favorite. This entrée features chicken salad in crispy timbales, frozen fruit salad, and cheese straws. It is delightful!
On this particular visit I bought the Swan Coach House Cookbook, The Swan’s Palette. It features several recipes from the restaurant as well as ones from the many volunteers who help keep the Swan Coach House going. I was excited to find the frozen fruit salad recipe in the cookbook, but from my many years of cooking and analyzing recipes, this is clearly NOT the real recipe. Trade secrets I guess. There are no recipes for the chicken salad, timbales, or the cheese straws, so I considered it “challenge accepted” and have come up with my own copycat versions of the Swan Coach House “Favorite” entrée.
Please note: I have never worked at the Swan Coach House Restaurant or volunteered there, nor do I know anyone who has worked there or talked to anyone who has divulged trade secrets. This compilation of recipes is my own trial and error versions of the recipes and I am excited to say they are very, very close in taste to the real thing. Now, by putting these recipes out there on the internet, I’m in no way saying that you should only make my recipes and not visit the restaurant because if you do, you are missing out on a charming place to eat in Atlanta. But if you want to try some homemade Swan Coach House, you have come to the right place.
One pound cheddar cheese, shredded, room temperature
2 sticks butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. It is better to shred the cheese while it is still cool and then allow to come to room temperature. Shredding your own cheese from a block works best in this recipe. Mix together all ingredients until the cheese is well-incorporated and you can’t see the individual shreds of cheese. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper. Cut into 1/2 X 3-inch strips. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Note: you can easily cut this recipe in half if desired.
Frozen Fruit Salad
1 cup pitted dark sweet cherries (canned),drained
3/4 cup chopped canned peaches, drained
1/2 cup fresh seedless red grapes (halved)
1/2 cup fresh seedless white grapes (halved)
3/4 cup maraschino cherries (halved)
3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped banana (one medium banana)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 pint whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon curd
Drain all fruits in a colander; place in a bowl and use a spoon to mix fruits evenly. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the powdered sugar and lemon curd. Mix in the fruits and pecans. Line a mold with cling wrap (you can use a traditional round mold like the Swan Coach House or a large loaf pan works well, or you can freeze individual servings in cupcake papers. Freeze 8 hours or until firm. If using a mold, remove from the mold and slice to serve.
4 cups very finely chopped chicken
1/2 cup finely minced or grated celery
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup whipped whipping cream
Salt to taste
Boil raw chicken in water until fork tender. Cool in refrigerator. When cooled, chop the chicken and the celery very finely. If you have a grinder, you can use that however a food processor tends to make the chicken too fine and pasty. The best consistency is a very fine mince which can be achieved with a sharp knife. Add the mayonnaise. Use a whisk to whip the whipping cream. Add to the chicken mixture. Based upon the moistness of the chicken, it may be necessary to adjust the mayonnaise and/or whipping cream to create the traditional texture of the Swan Coach House chicken salad. You want a smooth texture – not too dry but not to mayonnaise-y. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate for an hour for the flavors to meld and for the chicken to absorb some of the mayonnaise mixture. Serve in 1/3 cup scoopfuls in timbales.
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
oil for frying
Beat eggs. Add the milk. Combine the flour and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture until the batter is smooth. In a small deep pan, heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Heat the timbale iron in the oil. Wipe the oil off the iron by blotting with a towel and dip into the batter twice. Do not allow the batter to go over the top of the iron but try to coat all sides all the way to the top of the iron.
Place iron in the hot oil and fry until golden brown. As the timbale is frying gently pry it off of the iron with a spoon and allow it to fill with oil so the inside and outside cook at the same time. Cook the timbale until it is evenly medium-brown. If there are pale patches the timbale may be soggy in some areas when you eat it later. Remove with tongs to a cooling rack covered with paper towels.
The best frying temperature is 375 degrees. If the oil is too hot, the timbale splays out from the iron and won’t hold its shape. If the oil is not hot enough, it is difficult to remove the timbale from the iron. When timbales are cooked, drained and cooled place in an airtight container or plastic bag. If timbales aren’t as crisp as you like them when you are preparing your plates later, place the unfilled timbales in a 275 degree oven until crisp. Allow to cool before filling with chicken salad. Makes 30 timbales.