Saturday, 14 May 2011

Chicken Salad with Fruit & Quinoa

I don't often buy chicken breasts, but I bought a large package this week and so it's been chicken salad ever since. This is a favourite from way back when. Sometimes I mix a little mayonnaise in with the leftovers and put them in a sandwich - pita is good.

The instructions make it sound terribly time-consuming but it really isn't. Some of it just has to be done in advance. It keeps pretty well too. If you know you won't get to the leftovers right away, you might put parsley just in the part you expect to eat immediately, and add more to the rest as you eat it. That'll help keep it fresh and perky.

6 to 8 servings
20 minutes advance preparation; 20 minutes to finish

Cook the Chicken:
3 large (750 grams, 1 ½ pounds) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
a pinch of salt
1 ½ cups water

Put the chicken in a pot, in a single layer, and add the bay leaf, salt and water. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over halfway through the cooking time. Let cool and refrigerate.

Cook the Quinoa:
1 cup white quinoa
1 2/3 cups water
a pinch of salt

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly, and drain well. Put the quinoa, water and salt into a rice cooker. Turn on; cook; let cool.

You can do this on a pot on the stove as well. Bring the quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Soak the Dried Fruit:
1 cup water
12 to 16 pods green cardamom
1 tablespoon peeled, chopped ginger
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups mixed dried fruit

Snip or cut up the dried fruit into small bite-sized pieces.
Put the water in a medium-sized pot. Crush the cardamom, and peel and chop the ginger. Add them to the water, with the honey. Bring to a boil and boil, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid, pressing the cardamom and ginger to extract as much flavour as possible, and return the liquid to the pot. Discard the ginger and cardamom. Add the dried fruit to the pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, turn off the heat, and let the fruit sit for about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Finish the Salad:

1 large or 2 small navel oranges
1 large or 2 small apples
3 or 4 stalks of celery
1 cup finely chopped parsley
the juice of 1 large lemon, or a bit more
salt & pepper to taste

Peel the oranges, and chop and de-seed the segments. Wash and chop the apples. Wash and chop the celery and parsley. Use more or less parsley depending on how much you like parsley (and have on hand). I like it quite a bit, so I use lots when I have it.

Chop the cold chicken breasts.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken, oranges, apples, celery, parsley, dried fruit with their soaking liquid, and the quinoa. Add the lemon juice. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as required. If you would like it a bit more tart, the juice of another half lemon may be added.


Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan said...

Interesting!...Never had chicken salad with fruit, but I love everything sweet. So yum!

Jerry said...

This looks so Moroccan! I have to try this! Thanks for great recipe! I know that barley takes lot longer to cook but could you substitute barley for quinoa?

Ferdzy said...

Yes, I have to say I think most any salad is better with fruit... not all... but many!

Jerry, I guess you could use barley. Since it has to be cooked in advance it doesn't really matter how long it takes as long as you allow enough time. I think you might get a better texture with cous-cous instead of the quinoa though.