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Food Network Favorites: Curried Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups

A fresh, light-tasting salad from Dave Lieberman. The preparation is extremely simple and the results are very good. My only quibble is with the yield.

According to Lieberman, this recipe yields 4 to 6 servings. Only if you're serving it as part of a luncheon, I say. Maybe at a bridal shower where there are also canap├ęs and fruit and dessert; otherwise, not even close. My husband and I finished off the entire recipe between us for lunch.

The issue may be with the vague ingredients specifications. "4 whole chicken thighs" is what's given in the book, but that could vary quite a bit. Packages of 6 chicken thighs at my market ranged from 2 1/4 to almost 4 pounds. I used a package of 6 thighs at 2 1/2 pounds, which worked well for the amount of dressing, but would definitely not feed 4 to 6 people. Lieberman should have specified a weight; that way the home cook doesn't have to try to puzzle out exactly how much chicken is really needed. I've specified 2 1/2 to 3 pounds in the recipe below; that will make 2 generous servings. If you need a higher yield, use more chicken, and increase the dressing amounts accordingly. The dressing is flexible; it's not going to make a huge difference if you add 1 1/2 or 2 teaspoons of curry powder, and you can always make adjustments on the fly.

Food Network Favorites has a note about the superiority of chicken thighs for this recipe, talking up their "rich meatiness." I do think that thighs are a better choice, but breasts will certainly work as well. As noted in the book, if you used breasts, reduce the poaching time to 10 to 12 minutes.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes
Yield: 2 to 4 servings

2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 lemon, quartered
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3/4 cup red seedless grapes, halved (quartered if grapes are large)
1 head butter lettuce, for serving

Put the chicken thighs, lemon, and cilantro in a skillet or saucepan. Fill with water just to cover the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered until meat is tender and cooked through, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove chicken from the poaching liquid and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin, fat, and bones and discard. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.

In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, curry powder, and honey. Stir in the scallions, celery, grapes, and chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Separate the lettuce leaves. Rinse and dry well. Serve the chicken salad heaped onto lettuce leaves.



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