Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken, Cheddar, Apple Salad with Spiced Pecans

Last week my friend, Jessie, and I did another menu swap!  I almost always cook at least two new recipes in a week of meals, but throwing five new recipes into one week is so much fun!  So each post this week will be one of the recipes Jessie gave me.

This salad was fantastic!  I cheated and went with store-bought spiced pecans, but we all still ate it up.  The dressing was more than enough, which means I'll probably be making the salad again next week!  The directions look long, but it's really a very simple salad to throw together.  

  • The Salad:
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4 medium)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 8-10 cups)
  • 8 ounces sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped or sliced thin
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup spiced pecans, store-bought or following the simple recipe below

  • Dried Cranberry Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice or water
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup red wine or raspberry vinegar
  • 1 shallot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Quick Spiced Pecans: (or you can find them pre-made on a shelf with the croutons)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • For the chicken and salad, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is shimmering and hot. Add the chicken and cook until it is nicely browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken over, add the water, and cover the skillet. Cook the chicken, letting it poach, until it is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it cool slightly before carving.

  • Toss the lettuce, cheese, apple, pecans, onion and dried cranberries together. Divide the salad among the serving plates. Slice the chicken on a diagonal and arrange over the salad. Serve with the vinaigrette. I prefer to let everyone douse their own salad with dressing, but you could toss the salad with 1/2 cup or so of the vinaigrette before assembling it on the plates and serve the extra dressing on the side.

  • For the pecans, melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the spices and then the pecans. Toast the nuts, stirring often, until the color deepens slightly and they are lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and toss with the sugar. Let them cool completely before tossing with the salad.

  • For the dressing, combine the cranberry juice (or water) and cranberries in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for one minute until hot. Process the hot cranberry mixture, vinegar, shallot, garlic, thyme, mustard, salt and pepper in a blender until the shallot and garlic are finely chopped. With the blender running, add the oil and continue to blend until the dressing is smooth and well-combined. Thin the dressing, if needed, with additional cranberry juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...