Monday, January 10, 2011

Never Arrive Empty-Handed

On Saturday night we had an impromptu gathering at our house to watch some football, drink some beers and let our kids run wild for a few hours. My friend Becky calls this the "dinner play date." Kids play, grown ups eat, talk, or in this case watch football, in peace.

Dave invited our friend Tom and his wife Layla to join us. They have six kids. Seriously. I think that this accounts for their refreshingly relaxed take on just about everything. Layla couldn't come, but Tom said he would stop by. When he walked in with a bag from the grocery store, I just assumed it was the most convenient method for carrying beer. I was way off base. Since Tom as all out of beer, he stopped at the store to bring a tomato pie for snacking. When there was no tomato pie left, he picked up a rotisserie chicken and loaf of Tuscan bread instead. Sure. Why not? I have to say I really admired Tom's commitment to not arriving empty-handed, even if we did tease him for being such a weirdo.

I tried to get him to take the chicken home to his brood, but he was having none of it. So on Sunday, I stripped down that bird and made a big batch of curried chicken salad. If you have some leftover chicken around, or rotisserie birds go on sale, give this "recipe" a try. Much better than the run of the mill chicken salad.

-In a medium sized mixing bowl combine:
  • The meat from a whole rotisserie chicken. (The bird I used from the supermarket produced about 3 cups of chicken meat.)
  • 2 stalks of celery, 3 green onions chopped. If you don't have green onions on hand, use 2 tbsp or so of finely chopped yellow onion.
  • One carrot "julienned." You could use a peeler, a mandoline or a grater. The idea is to get nice small pieces of carrot.
  • About a half a cup of canned Mandarin oranges or diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney. If you don't have chutney, apricot jam will work too.
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of mayo - depending on your tastes. You could also use plain yogurt or a combination of yogurt and mayonnaise.
  • 2-4 tsp of curry powder - again depending on your tastes. You could make this salad spicy by adding more curry, some cumin, chili powder, cayenne etc.
  • Other options: 1/4 cup raisins, cut up grapes, chopped apple, walnuts, almond slivers

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