Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Curried Chicken Salad Wrapped in Swiss Chard Leaves

I have a particular affinity for chicken salad.

I love it a hundred ways.

But I do believe this is my favorite.

The flavor of this recipe plays out like a relay race in your mouth.  You take a bite and instantly recognize the curry powder and the moist chicken.  Then the curry hands the baton off to a sweet, juicy apple.  Suddenly the third leg of the race begins with the unmistakable bloom of the green onion taste.  Then, if it happens this way in the lottery system of chewing, you may end with the sweet, firm apricot.  

Lovely, I tell you.  Just lovely.

You can wrap this salad in the Swiss chard leaves.  Or use large spinach leaves or red-leaf lettuce.  Or skip the green stuff all together and use flatbread or whole wheat tortillas.  Or serve it on crackers as an appetizer.  Or serve it nested in the hole left from the removal of seeds in a cantaloupe half.  Or just eat it with a spoon straight from the bowl. 

Options.  I love them.

Start with about a pound of cooked chicken breasts.  
(I sauteed these in olive oil and sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper.)

In a large bowl, combine the diced chicken, 
apricots, scallion (green onion), and apple. 

Such pretty colors. 

In a food processor (or blender), make the dressing.
Combine the mayo with the yogurt, salt, and pepper.

Whir it around until smooth, adding the wine in tablespoon increments as you go.

Add the about two teaspoons of the curry powder and whir some more.

Give it a taste.  Is it "curried" enough for you?  If not, add another teaspoon.

Pour the dressing over the ingredients that have been patiently waiting in the bowl.

Stir well to coat every morsel with curried deliciousness.

Grab your preferred wrapping ingredient.
These are Swiss chard leaves.

Place a dollop of salad in the center of the leaf, and wrap like a burrito.

Yummy.  Healthy.  Happy.

Curried Chicken Salad Wrapped in Swiss Chard
Serves 4-5 as an entree

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sauteed and diced
4-5 dried apricots, diced (that's about 1/4 cup diced)
1 scallion (green onion), sliced (some of the white part, all of the green part)
1 small firm apple (Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith), cored and diced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (you can substitute regular plain yogurt)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2-3 teaspoons curry powder (to taste)
2-3 tablespoons cup dry white wine

8-10 large leaves* of Swiss Chard (substitute red or green leaf lettuce, large spinach leaves, pita bread, whole wheat tortillas, flatbread, etc.)

In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, apricots, and scallion.  In a small bowl, mix together the diced apple and the lemon juice.  (This will keep the apple from discoloring and will add flavor to the dish.)  Add the apple to the bowl with the chicken.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the mayonnaise, yogurt, pepper, salt and 2 teaspoons** of the curry powder.  While the ingredients are processing, add the wine a tablespoon at a time until a smooth consistency is obtained.  Taste.  Add another teaspoon of curry powder if desired.

Pour curry dressing over the chicken/apricot mixture and stir to evenly coat.   Spoon the chicken salad onto a leaf and wrap like a burrito.   Serve wraps immediately or refrigerate the chicken salad (unwrapped) for several hours prior to serving to allow the flavors to fully develop. 

* The amount of leaves you will need to wrap the entire recipe depends on how big the leaves are, how large your want the servings to be, etc.  This number is just an estimate.  The swiss chard leaves I used were very small...but they were from my garden and are not the size typically found in stores. 

**You can start with a smaller amount of the curry powder.  Add it a little at a time until you are happy with the taste.

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Anonymous said...

This sounds so good! I LOVE curry! Would you come over to my link party tomorrow and share your recipes with us at Cast Party Wednesday? http://www.ladybehindthecurtain.com
I hope to see you there!