What do you do with leftover chicken?
I was thinking about that the other day because I had some. The best kind too, the kind leftover from when you make chicken soup. Chicken soup chicken is tender and soft and generally mild, at least as compared to a roasted or rotisserie chicken, which are more highly seasoned. The mild flavor means you can do a little more with it.
I had the chicken soup chicken left over from the soup I made for myself as a cure for the awful cold I had. I know there may be no scientific evidence for this, but I think chicken soup really does help when you have a cold. Mine took over a week to go away, and finally did, right after the soup.
Anyway, I had this chicken left over and I remembered that my Mom always made salad with those leftovers and she mixed the meat with celery and sometimes hard-cooked egg, and mayonnaise. On occasion, she would make chicken salad with chopped tart apple and chopped almonds.
Both very good.
But I made the salad below, mostly because I didn’t have enough chicken left to make a traditional chicken salad. The quinoa bulks it up, gives it a healthy touch. I also got the chance to use the mint that is growing so abundantly in my garden, plus some dill leftover from the bunch I bought for the chicken soup.
I added cut up oranges because citrus is so refreshing in a summer salad, looks good too (plus it has all that vitamin C), and I used orange juice (plus some lemon juice) instead of wine vinegar, for the dressing.
I also added blanched fresh peas, but any vegetable would do: cooked carrot, broccoli, asparagus and so on. You could also add some chopped cashews or dried cranberries.
Chicken Salad with Quinoa and Oranges
3/4 cup quinoa
1 cup cut up cooked chicken
1 cup blanched fresh peas (or use thawed frozen peas)
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let drain. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the quinoa into a bowl to cool. Peel the orange(s) and remove as much of the white pith around the segments as possible. Cut the oranges into bites size pieces and add to the quinoa. Add the chicken, peas, scallions, dill and mint and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour the olive oil, orange juice and lemon juice into the salad and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 4-6 servings