Thursday, April 13, 2006

CHICKEN SALAD WITH APPLES, GRAPES, AND SPICY PECANS

When ever I roast chicken, I also made 2 chickens. One for that day's dinner and the other for some other day. It's always handy to have cooked chicken in your fridge or freezer. When you roast chickens it doesn't have to be complicated, you can even make a great roast chicken with just oil, salt, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. You can certainly add herbs and garlic too. Onion also works well.
So I marinade the chicken first then when I roast the 2 chickens I like to add some potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic too. Cut them in big pieces because you need to cook them 1 hr together with the chicken. Coat them with a bit of oil then salt and black pepper. With this as foundation you can make 3 meals out of it.

First, you get a nice roast chicken with potatoes, carrots, onions ( you can certainly add other root vegetables too ) as your dinner.

Then if for some reason we can not finish the chicken, then I will pick the meats from the chicken, cut them up into small pieces or just tear them into strips. Then I made chicken soup for tomorrow lunch. Again, you can just make chicken noodle soup with those chicken left overs. You can use the bones for making chicken broth. Then again, you can always made fancier soup.

With the extra roast chicken I like to make a hearty chicken salad that can be eaten for 2 lunches if possible. I divide the meat that I pick from that extra roast chicken into 2 portion. But if your chicken is small, I guess you can only get 1 salad dish for your family. There are many salad dishes that use cold cooked chicken in it's recipes. This is one of them. I got this recipe from "Fresh Every Day" by Sara Foster.


CHICKEN SALAD WITH APPLES, GRAPES, AND SPICY PECANS

I often put fruits and nuts in salads; I love sweet and salty flavours together. This makes a nice picnic lunch on its own or a good sandwich with watercress on toasted multi-grain bread, or in a whole-wheat pita or flour tortilla.

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup fruit chutney ( I even use onion chutney and it still taste amazing )
4 cooked chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tart apples ( Granny smith )peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley ( I use curly parsley )
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Spicy Pecans (recipe follows) or store-bought spicy pecans

Stir the mayonnaise, mustard, and chutney together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken, celery, apples, grapes, parsley, salt and pepper and toss gently. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Sprinkle the salad with the pecans just before serving.

SPICY PECANS

I know from experience that you will eat a handful of these pecans before they even see the salad, so I made this recipe for twice what they recipe calls for. You might want to double it again, since they are good thrown into just about any salad and also make a delicious cocktail snack.

Makes 2 cups.

2 cups pecan halves
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs dried rosemary
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Note: I also add 1 tsp of sugar.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Combine the pecans, vanilla, and olive oil in a medium bowl and toss to mix.

Stir the rosemary, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and cayenne together in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the spices evenly over the pecans and toss again.

Spread teh pecans in one layer on a baking sheet with sides and roast, stirring several times during the cooking process, until the nuts are crispy and brown. About 15 minutes. Let the pecans cool to room temperature on the baking sheet, stirring several times to prevent them from sticking together and to the pan. These will last for at least a week in a sealable bag. If you are storing them, make sure they completely cool before placing them in the bag; otherwise, they will soften in the bag.

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