I don't know how it happened, but fall is upon us. I lift my head from working on the kitchen and it's freezing outside! As the weather cools, I find myself craving more substantial, hearty meals. While airy, light foods perfectly satisfy my hunger in the summer, fall and winter appetites require richer, more filling foods.
Having a consistent work schedule, I am focusing my culinary efforts into meals I can prepare ahead of time and bring with me to work.
Curried chicken salad is a perfect make-ahead lunch that is substantial, but, at the same time, gets lightness from the crispy rich texture and interplay of flavors. A perfect fall lunch with wheat crackers or on bread. We had some with pita.
In this entry, my huge prep bowl is the featured vessel for the construction of the salad. I got it at my local restaurant supply store and use it all the time. It's made of stainless steel and has a very wide surface, so it's perfect for mixing by hand.
Curried Chicken Salad
Begin by frying up
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper
(I use these. I put them in a pan with oil, and add a little liquid while keeping them covered so they finish cooking before they burn on the surface.)
in a large bowl, combine
1 c. quartered grapes
1 c. celery, minced
1 c. apple, peeled and minced.
I got these great little brioche tins for 10 cents each. I use them for holding all kinds of little things, from prepped veggies to dips and dressings.
I used Honeycrisp apples. Use anything crunchy and sweet. Showing off my peeling skills....
Combine the apples, celery, and the shredded chicken.
4 oz. sliced almonds
1/2 c. vegenaise
1-3 tsp. curry powder or paste
I love mayo in any form, so when I met Vegenise I was skeptical. As you may have guessed, it is egg-less mayonnaise. I thought to myself, "Isn't the egg essential to that rich mayo taste?" Apparently not. By no stretch, Vegenaise is better than any mayo I've ever found on a shelf in a jar. (My homemade mayo is a different story....) This stuff is insanely flavorful and rich. Try it. You'll never go back.
We used yellow curry paste for this recipe. I didn't use much because I wanted the flavors to be very mild, but a couple teaspoons will give a noticeable heat. Making your own curry powder is always best, but, you know.
Mix this all together, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve at room temperature.
I'm contemplating pumpkins this week, so hopefully we'll have a hearty soup sometime soon!
Take care, dear readers, and relish this transition season. It won't last long!