Thursday, February 27, 2014

Curried Chicken Salad

Quite a few years ago, I worked in the backroom of the Deli in the major retailer I’ve worked for, for the majority of my career.  This job entailed making classic recipes that had been approved to sell in the salad case.  Well, when you make these delicious salads so many times, you tend to just remember the recipe.  Fast forward a few years later, when that same deli streamlined production and made most salads off site, these classic recipes went by the way side, a very sad moment… But wait….fast forward a couple more years, and I was challenged in revamping the salad case…..and besides visiting a bunch of competitors and gathering samples of what looked good, I pulled a few classics out….including,  this version of the one we used to make in that Deli. 

I took this great flavorful salad, and packed it into a pocket bread (or Pita), and wow was it delicious.

Curried Chicken Salad

6 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (I used ½ of a turkey breast, cooked picked off the bone and chopped)
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup Major Grey’s chutney (I used my homemade Pineapple Chutney)
4 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
Green Onion, chopped (white and green parts)
½ cup currents
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews
1 package Fresh Pocket or Pita bread

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.

Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and in fresh pita, or pocket bread.

I forgot to snap a picture the night before, so this was lunch version....but you get the picture!

Chicken and Rice Pilaf wrapped in Filo, with Creamed Corn

Tonight’s dinner was a recreation of a recipe I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks.  I read somewhere a recipe for Chicken and Rice Pilaf wrapped in Filo.  

 It was a recipe for an entire pie, but all I could think about was individual “pie”.  So I made rice, grilled chicken the wrapped it in filo.  It was really, really good.

1 cup rice (any type, or mixture.  I used a wild Thai blend)
2 cups veggie broth
½ cup diced carrots
¼ cup nuts, toasted (I used hazelnuts and pine nuts)
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 Chicken breasts, grilled to 160F, thinly sliced

1 pkg Filo dough
Olive oil

Boil rice in water, with lid on until done, approx. 20 minutes. When rice is cooked, add in carrots and toasted nuts.  Add Salt and pepper to taste.

While Rice is cooking, grill chicken until just done 160F.  Chicken will not be white, it will be slightly pink, but still food safe.  This way the chicken will still be moist when it comes out of the oven.

Allow both the rice and chicken to cool.

For Filo, lay out I sheet of filo, and oil it, place another sheet of filo on top.  Continue layering 4 sheets of dough.

Scoop out about 1/3-1/2 cup of rice into the center of the dough.  

Place about 4-5 sliced (or so) of the chicken breast on top.   

Wrap the filo around the mixture.  Bake at 400 for approx. 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

In addition to this I made 

“Fresh Cream Corn”

another recipe adaption from a great friend (Kim Bostrom)

6 ears of corn
¼ cup of cream
1 T dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Strip kernels of corn off cob. (Check out my new kitchen gadget!!  

Add in cream and seasonings.  Warm up, but don’t bring to a boil.