Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad

*Post by Angela.
When Mark lived in Chicago, his favorite restaurant was a tapas place called Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, and his favorite dish there was the chicken & curry salad.  Now, I don't know much about chicken salad.  It was definitely not something we ate at my house growing up, and I've probably eaten it less than a dozen times as an adult.  But I've liked the chicken salad that I have eaten, and I'm intrigued by the combination of flavors and textures.  I've tried making curried chicken salad once in the past, and it turned out okay, but not great.

Because I'm the best girlfriend in the entire world (and because I felt like chicken salad had the kind of consistency that might not offend my very sensitive throat), I had the urge to give it another go with a recipe from Dave Lieberman, the man responsible for my very successful cauliflower soup last week.  The recipe is pretty darned simple, and result was much better this time around, like a piƱata full of yummy flavors and textures in your mouth - I'm starting to think that this Dave Lieberman character might deserve a place on my Food Network all-stars list (along with Tyler Florence and Giada De Laurentiis).

Click below to get the recipe!
List of ingredients for the curried chicken salad:
4 whole chicken thighs
1 lemon
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro stems
kosher salt & black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 green onions, very finely minced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 cup seedless red grapes, quartered
Bread of your choice (I used whole wheat)

First, I prepped the cilantro, separating the leaves from the stems and giving them a rough chop.  I'm not sure why it's important to do this, but whenever a recipe specifies something weird, and I have no idea why, I default to following directions (as long as it's not a pain in the ass).

I also quartered a lemon, removing the visible seeds.

I threw the chicken, lemon, cilantro leaves and stems into a saucepan, and added just enough water to cover the chicken. I then added salt and pepper (a couple of tsp. of each), brought the water to a boil over medium heat, then reduced to a very gentle simmer.  I then went back to catching up on last week's Human Target (What?! That Mark Valley is so dreamy. And it's got Rorschach!). 

After about 45 minutes (when the chicken was falling-off-the-bone tender), I scooped the chicken out of the saucepan, let it cool, then stripped the meat off the bones, throwing away the skin.  I used a fork to shred the remaining meat.

In a bowl, I mixed together the mayonnaise, curry, honey, and lemon juice. Once all those ingredients were combined, I gently stirred in the green onions, celery, grapes, and chicken, and seasoned to taste.

I toasted a couple of pieces of whole wheat bread, and spread the chicken salad pretty thick.  I liked it a lot, but next time, I might throw in some chopped jalapeno for some heat and more crunch.  And even though it wasn't quite up to Ba Ba Reeba standards, Mark loved it.  I'm definitely keeping this recipe in the rotation for lunch options.

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