Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Promised Summertime Dinner Recipe

Gosh, somewhere back in time I remember promising my favorite summertime dinner recipe. S-o-r-r-y! We took a family vacation (to Colorado- more about that later), I came back and watered flowers, ate cookies, then I found myself and here I am ready to share that recipe with you. You’ll love it. It will have been worth the wait.

When I last made the recipe it was more “wet” than usual, as you’ll see in the pic’s, but was still tasty. Maybe we nibbled on the chicken a little and had less to add… Here at last is my quick go to, no cooking, summertime recipe!

Chicken roll up wm.jpeg This recipe came from the August 2008, House Beautiful magazine

Almond Chutney Chicken in Lettuce Roll-Ups

Chicken Salad:

1 3-pound roasted chicken

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

Grated zest of 1 large lemon

Juice of 3 large lemons, or more to taste

2 Jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced, or hot sauce to taste

9-ounce jar Major Grey Chutney, cut into bite-size pieces if necessary

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

3 large stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 cup whole salted almonds, coarse chopped

Lettuce Cups and Herbs

1 large head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried

1 large bunch fresh basil, washed and dried

1 large bunch fresh cilantro, washed and dried

8 radishes, thin sliced

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into thin rounds or 2-inch sticks

1 Pull the meat from the chicken carcass, discarding the skin and bones. Cut it into bite-size pieces.

2 In a large bowl combine the onion, lemon zest and juice, jalapeno, chutney, mayo, salt, and pepper. Fold in the chicken. Taste the mix for lemon, mayo, and spice, adding more as needed. Let it stand for 20 minutes to blend flavors or refrigerate overnight.

3 To serve, blend the celery and nuts into the chicken mixture. Mound the salad at one side of a big platter. Pile up the lettuce leaves at the other side, and cluster sprigs of herbs in the center. Tuck the radishes and cucumbers next to the herbs.

4 Put a few herb leaves in the bottom of a lettuce “cup,” top them with a spoonful of the salad, a slice each of radish and cucumber, and roll up.

Chicken wrap fixings wm.jpeg

Above are all the “fixin’s.” I use the almonds (purchased slivered to save on prep time) and the celery as an add on and not mixed into the chicken salad. Everyone adds their favorites. In the magazine, one guest noted as he waved his basil leaf, “These are the key to the whole enterprise!” I agree, the basil is fantastic and, you know, you really should have some growing in a pot in the backyard.

Something new to try…

Chicken wrap in rice paper wm.jpeg

We also like to eat the chicken salad wrapped in Spring Roll wrappers. If you’ve never used these before, you’re in for some fun! The kids will like making these. Above, is a brand I’ve found in my local grocery store. Spring Roll wrappers are made of rice and tapioca and need to be softened in water to eat. To make them, get a large bowl and fill it with warm tap water. Put one spring roll wrapper in the water at a time and let it soften for a minute (or less). They are translucent and will feel rubbery and bend easily when ready. Take out of the water and lay flat on a plate. Fill with the lettuce, chicken salad and fixin’s. Fold up like a burrito, which is fold ends in first and then roll up. The wrapper will stick to itself and stay in a nice little package. As seen in the pic above, Spring Rolls make a pretty presentation when you layer the cilantro and a radish slice on to the wrapper first, then a piece of lettuce, then chicken salad.

A few more notes if you’re still hanging around here and not out by the pool…

  • About the roasted chicken; I purchase mine at Costco as it is affordable and much larger than the one I can purchase at the grocery store. Go for the big chicken, you’re going to want a lot of this hanging around in your fridge.
  • To get lemon zest, I use a size “fine” Microplane. These are available at your favorite kitchen store or places like Central Market.
  • If you want to tone down the “heat” from the jalapeno’s, be sure to remove the veins and seeds. That’s where your heat is. To keep the oil off of my hands (and later out of my baby kitty eyes when I take off my makeup for bedtime!) I wear a sandwich baggie like a glove to pull out the veins and seeds. Then I can just toss the baggie out with the veins and seeds.
  • Major Grey Chutney can be found in the ethnic foods section of most grocery stores. It comes in regular and spicy. I’ve used both and liked them both. The mango pieces in the chutney are large and need to be chopped up.
  • I use whatever lettuce I have on hand, Bib or Iceberg.

Yummo! Please invite me over to help you eat these!

Next blog: A dreamy way I’d like to spend a summer afternoon

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