Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cooking with Ina Garten

I was hungry today for curried chicken salad and I looked up Ina Garten's recipe and tried it again. The recipe can be found here and it's very simple (and VERY good!)
 Roast the chicken with salt and pepper.  That's easy, I roasted it at 350 and left it in until my meat thermometer comes out at 150 degrees.  I saw that Emeril Lagasse cooks chicken until 140 and most places say 165 (just a liability issue) but Emeril said he liked his chicken moist.  I can't stand underdone chicken but 150 was perfect for this and the meat really did retain it's moisture.  No more over-cooked chicken for me! 

Then let it cool and chunk it up.  It crumbles some as it gets stirred up so there is no point in going overboard on this step. 

Then ya throw in the good stuff:  Mayo, Major Grey Chutney, curry powder, and celery for crunch.  Oh, and don't forget the salt and freshly ground black pepper.  I had red wine but no white wine, so instead I just included the rest of the broth from the pan I baked the chicken in.  A good vinegar would work here also.  Ina puts this all in the food processor and makes it all smooth before adding it to the chicken.  And that is ideal.... however...  Life is short, and I just threw it all right in and gave it a gedge.  (That's a Rachel Ray term for stirring, can you tell I had Food Network on in the house yesterday?) 

Ina Garten's recipe called for scallion, raisins and cashews... I garnish it with grapes (instead of raisins) and spring onions (close enough.)  I sprinkle those on top mostly because they look lovely, but also because these ingredients don't hold up so well if there is some left for the next day so I prefer to have them separate.  I ate all the cashews in the house, so sadly I could not pile those on top yet.  They really are wonderful in this recipe.  If you want to know how much of something to throw in, consult Ina Garten's recipe.  I tend to dump till it looks right and then make adjustments as needed.  Which reminds me, I should add curry powder and cashews to the grocery list.

This would make a lovely main dish for a picnic, then add veggies, crisps and other fun picnic foods.  This time I just served it as a one dish wonder.  (With iced tea made from garden mint and lily of the valley from the poison ivy patch on the table.)  The only comment from the peanut gallery was that it "needs bread or something."  (G, think he's spoiled?!)  It would be good in a wrap or as a chicken salad sandwich, no doubt about that.  I love the combination of the sweet Major Grey Chutney against the curry flavors... YUM!  And yeah, I meant to make fresh biscuits to go with it and just didn't get it done.  But I have leftovers, so there is still time for that.

Best Dishes, (with a nod to Paula Dean)
-Carmen Rose

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