Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Curried Chicken Salad

After using leftovers creatively, my most frugal tip is to buy whole chickens and cut them up yourself as opposed to buying chicken pieces at the grocery store. This guarantees that, if you are cooking for two (or two plus a toddler, like I am) you will get two meals out of one bird. The first, of course, is what you make with the thighs, drums, and breasts. The second is what you do with the carcass. Here is what I did with my bird last week: Curried Chicken Salad.

Chicken salad is an incredibly flexible dish and can be simple (mayo, celery and dill) or all dolled up, like it is here. Apples and raisins are always in my house, so that was easy. Celery is a useful veggie and adds base flavors in soups and stews - just be sure to wrap it tightly in aluminum foil so it doesn't wilt within the week. Curry powder is another staple to have on hand. Experiment with different brands - some are sweeter, some are spicier - and find one you like. I stuffed the Curried Chicken Salad into a split croissant, but it goes great on whole wheat bread, and is even easier on the diet when served in Bibb lettuce leaves.

Curried Chicken Salad
  • I chicken carcass, or two bone-in breasts
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup raisins (or dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons curry powder, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil the chicken carcass in salted water until cooked through and falling off the bone. When done, remove from water and let cool in a bowl.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, dice the apple and celery and add them in a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon over them to keep the apples from browning. Add the raisins and cilantro.
  3. Mix the curry powder and mayo together, and taste - it will need salt and maybe pepper and more lemon juice.
  4. Remove the chicken from the bones and shred or chop finely. Add to the apple mixture and stir in mayo and curry dressing and chopped cilantro. Mix well and chill until ready to eat.
You can substitute plain yogurt for half of the mayo, if you like. Also, chopped walnuts would be great in this!

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