saansaturday: (fornication)
( Thursday, 16 February 2006 16:39)
The concoction I created for dinner last night was yummy. I was already thinking about chicken salad when I went grocery shopping in the late afternoon. V had mentioned that he was in the mood for something with fruit, such as mandarin oranges. I thought I could make some sort of chicken salad, serve it over greens with the mandarin orange slices and perhaps something else as garnish. But on my way to grab the oranges I noticed a display with cans of mango slices. Thinking that V surely wouldn't be opposed to mango rather than orange, I grabbed them.

So the items of inspiration: chicken breasts, canned mangos, walnuts, baby chard.

I started by poaching the chicken breasts in chicken stock which I spiked with ginger, peppercorns, coriander, garlic and onion. Meanwhile I began assembling the salad:

2 green onions, minced
1 can mango slices, mangos chopped, juice reserved
about 1/4 cup mayo
about 1/4 cup plain yogurt
a handful of toasted walnuts (would have been better with almonds, I think)
a fair amount of powdered ginger
a bit of garlic powder
enough cayenne pepper to give some pleasant heat
a bit of crushed red peppercorns
a couple of splashes of rice wine vinegar
mango juice &/or poaching liquid, to taste
salt, to taste

When the chicken was done (after about 25 minutes of simmering in the stock), I cut it into bite-sized pieces, let them cool a bit, then stirred them into the salad. The yogurt I used was seriously thick, and the mangos were very sweet, so I ended up with something both thicker and sweeter than I wanted. I added a few spoonfuls of the poaching liquid to up the chicken flavor and thin it out a bit. Then the chicken flavor was a bit too pronounced, so I added a little bit of the reserved mango juice. I put the salad in the refrigerator to chill for a while.

I served it over the baby chard. It looked so pretty! I really should have garnished with a few green onions or some nuts but I forgot about it. I snapped a couple of photos really quickly--they didn't come out so great but I wasn't interested in taking the time to get a good photo. I was hungry and this dinner was satisfying and so tasty.

one more photo )
The salad turned out very good; V did a fair amount of blissful moaning while eating it last night, something he seldom does, so I know it's not just me and my love of my own cooking. So I must write the recipe down for posterity.

The recipe has two parts--first poaching the turkey (and you could definitely substitute chicken), then the construction of the salad. It's possible to skip the first part and use previously cooked poultry (leftovers).

Poach with whatever flavors you like. My flavors were influenced by what I had in the house (like 5 mushrooms that needed to be used for something).

Poaching Ingredients:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. unsalted butter
5 brown mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
turkey pieces
cold water
small handful lavender (make sure it is for cooking and doesn't have chemicals added)
heaping tsp. dried thyme (fresh would be better)
9 peppercorns

Heat a large saucepan over medium. Add the oil and butter, wait until you smell it, then add the mushrooms and onion. Cook for about five minutes (this brings out the mushroom flavor). Add your turkey pieces and a lot of cold water. Add the spices. If you're using dried thyme, be sure to crush it between your palms before adding. Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer until the turkey is nice and tender.

Carefully strain the mixture through a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a triple thickness of paper towels (I was a bit frantic when I discovered that I was out of cheesecloth, but happily the paper towels worked just fine). Remove the turkey pieces, brushing off any herbs or onions, and place in a covered container in the back of your refrigerator to cool. Save the broth for another use. Discard the veggies.

Salad Ingredients:
3 green onions, finely chopped (you could substitute chives)
juice of one lemon
scant tsp. dried thyme, crushed
2 pears (any crunchy variety, preferably just a bit under-ripe), roughly chopped
about 1/2 cups roughly chopped walnuts, toasted (I like to toast in a pan, simply heat a small skillet on medium-low, add walnuts and let them toast, stirring often, until they have a nice smell)
cooked turkey, roughly chopped
1-2 TBS minced parsley
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
spinach or other greens

Combine everything but the greens and mayo in a bowl. (Chop the ingredients into whatever size you like--I enjoy variation so I have both large and small pieces of the turkey, pears and walnuts). Add just enough mayo to coat everything, then add just a bit more. Mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours, if you can wait that long, so the flavors can meld. Serve over greens, or with bread as a sandwich. Enjoy :)


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