Showing posts with label chicken breast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chicken breast. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Broccolini Chicken Pear Blue Cheese Salad with Warm Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Who says greens have to be leafy to make a great salad? Lightly cooked broccolini adds great flavor and bite to this wonderful recipe for broccolini chicken pear blue cheese salad.

Food Lust People Love: Who says greens have to be leafy to make a great salad? Lightly cooked broccolini adds great flavor and bite to this wonderful recipe for broccolini chicken pear blue cheese salad.

Growing up, I was never a fan of pears because of their texture. I found them a bit gritty, for want of a better word. Recently I discovered that they aren’t all that way and I have been converted. In Dubai, we have produce imported from all over the world so, as long as you are willing to pay the price, choice fresh fruit is available year round. I try to buy what’s in season closest to me with occasional special treats of produce from farther afield.

The pears that convinced me were Coscia pears, an Italian variety. I first liked them baked into an almond pear bread pudding but then decided they were pretty good raw as well. When I looked them up, the interwebs told me that they were granular in texture, but I didn’t find that true at all. Maybe mine were special but I’ve bought them a few times since and, while they aren’t as smooth as apples, they aren’t as gritty as the pears I recall from when I was little.

Another recipe for Salad Month
Like the crunchy green bean, tomato, chicken and pearl couscous salad I posted earlier this month, this salad can also be served without the chicken. But when I am serving it as a main course, I think the additional protein helps make it a more filling meal. As another bonus, it can also be made ahead of time, which makes it perfect for a packed lunch at school or at work. Or for serving dinner guests.

Broccolini, Chicken, Pear and Blue Cheese Salad with Warm Vinaigrette

Pears and blue cheese are a classic combination of sweet and salty, especially if you have crisp pears that are just ripe and fragrant with pear-y-ness. Together they lift the broccolini and chicken into something fabulous. And whether the salad is served slightly chilled or at room temperature right after you make it, the warm honey mustard vinaigrette is the perfect dressing.

Ingredients – to serve 2 as a meal, 4 as a starter
For the salad:
2 small boneless chicken breasts
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
7 oz or 200g broccolini aka tenderstem broccoli
1/4 small onion, sliced thinly
1 pear, ripe but firm
3 oz or 57g soft blue cheese (I like Bleu d'Auvergne for this recipe – it’s made with cow’s milk and is milder than Roquefort.)

For the warm honey mustard vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Season the chicken breasts with the salt and two peppers. Pan-fry them in the olive oil until golden on both sides and cooked through. Depending on the thickness of your breasts, this could take as few as five minutes and as many as 10. Do not overcook them or, as we all know, chicken breasts dry out. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, put a pot of water on to boil and fill a bowl with cold water and some ice cubes.

When the water comes to a boil, pu the broccolini in careful so you don’t scald yourself with a splash of boiling water. Set a timer for two minutes.

When the timer rings, scoop the broccolini out with a slotted spoon and pop it directly into the ice water. This ensures that it stays brightly green. Once chilled, remove the broccolini, drain and leave it to dry.

Cut the chicken breasts into 8-9 slices each. Divide the broccolini between two plates and add a sliced chicken breast to each. Add the sliced onion.

Core and thinly slice the pear on top of the broccolini. Crumble the blue cheese on top of both.

At this point, the plates can be chilled, covered with cling film, until you are ready to serve. Remove the plates from the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before serving to allow time for the salad to warm up a little.

To make the warm vinaigrette, whisk all of the ingredients - except the oil - together in a small pot or microwaveable bowl, then warm the mixture gently over a low fire or with a couple of quick zaps of the microwave. Whisk in the olive oil, a little at a time, until the vinaigrette has emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the warm honey mustard vinaigrette over the salad.

Food Lust People Love: Who says greens have to be leafy to make a great salad? Lightly cooked broccolini adds great flavor and bite to this wonderful recipe for broccolini chicken pear blue cheese salad.


Pin it! 

Food Lust People Love: Who says greens have to be leafy to make a great salad? Lightly cooked broccolini adds great flavor and bite to this wonderful recipe for broccolini chicken pear blue cheese salad.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Broccoli Chicken Couscous Salad

Lean chicken breasts pan-fried till golden, lightly steamed broccoli, tomatoes and radishes in a quick lemon yogurt dressing with red chili makes a tasty, healthy meal after weeks of indulgence. 

This salad is made up of the vegetables I had on hand so please use the ingredient amounts as a guide and feel free to substitute your favorites, add more or omit whatever doesn’t suit you.

Ingredients (to serve two as a main course or four as a starter)
For the salad:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Olive oil
1 cup or 150g couscous (medium grain)
1/2 medium-sized head of broccoli
9-10 small sharp radishes
9-10 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup or about 50g sprouted mung beans
Large handful cilantro or fresh coriander leaves

For the dressing:
Juice 1/2 large lemon (about 1/8 cup or 30ml)
1 small purple onion
1-2 small hot red chilies
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
1/8 cup or 30ml olive oil
Sea salt

Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces and season liberally with salt and the ground cumin.  Stir it around so the pieces are seasoned all over.

Heat up a non-stick skillet and pan-fry the chicken until golden on all sides using just a tiny drizzle of olive oil.   Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Put a pot of water on to heat for steaming your broccoli.

Cut the broccoli into florets then cut the florets in quarters.

Steam them until they are still crunchy.  This takes just a few minutes.  Remove your steamer with broccoli from the hot pot and set aside to cool.  Reserve the water for making the couscous.

Put your couscous in a pot or metal bowl and add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Add just enough boiling water (From the broccoli steaming pot, if you’ve plan ahead!) to cover the couscous plus a bit extra.  Put the lid on and leave it while you get on with the rest of the salad.

Slice your radishes and halve your cherry tomatoes.  Chop the cilantro very roughly.  You want some nice big leaves still.  Finely mince the red chilies and thinly slice your onion.

In a bowl that will be big enough for tossing your whole salad, add in lemon juice, the onion and the chilies.  Let them steep for a few minutes.  This takes the sharpness out of the onion and infuses the juice with the heat of the chilies.

Add in the plain yogurt and stir.   Now drizzle in the olive oil and stir well.  Give the whole thing a small sprinkle of salt.  Set aside.

By now your couscous should be done.  Remove the lid and fluff it up with a fork.  Leave the lid off and allow it to cool further.

Add your radishes, tomatoes and mung beans to the salad bowl.

Heap on the couscous.

Toss well to coat everything with dressing.  Now add in cooled broccoli and the cilantro.  Toss again.

Finally, add in the chicken pieces and toss for the last time.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuffed Whole Chicken Breast Roast

Once again, I’m trying to empty the freezer but this time I am actually making the dish I had in mind when I bought the chicken breasts.  It’s not often you find whole, by which I mean still attached to each other, boneless breasts, so when I saw these two, I scooped them up.  

I imagined them together, one on top, one on bottom with the stuffing in between, roasted so that the skin on the top and skin on the bottom of both turned a crispy, crunchy caramelized auburn.   When it comes to food, I have a very vivid imagination.

This summer I bought an entire roll of butchers’ roast netting and this seemed like a great opportunity to put it to good use.   I am a little older and wiser now though, so I figured out that I need a tube of some sort to wrap the netting around and then push the roast through.  If we could have filmed my mother and me this summer, struggling with an overstuffed pork roast and that netting, it would have been a YouTube sensation, titled Women Stuffing the Baby Back In, because that is what it looked like.  And the netting was just as unwilling as any new mother. Mercifully, we were home alone so no one caught us in the act.

2 whole boneless chicken breasts, still attached to each other – so four breasts in two pieces – a little more than a pound each – ask your butcher!
20g or 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 medium baby Portabella or Swiss Brown mushrooms
160g or almost 6oz frozen spinach, thawed
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup or 35-40g couscous – medium grain
1 egg
180g or 6.25oz ground or minced pork
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
Butchers’ netting or baking string

Chop up your tomato, onion, garlic and mushrooms.

Melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the vegetables until they are soft.


Add a drizzle of olive oil, a couple of generous pinches of salt and a couple of good grinds of black pepper.  And then add the spinach.  Mix well.

Make a bowl out of your mixture and put in the couscous.  Add a 1/2 cup of boiling water to the couscous.  Don’t stress if your “bowl” breaks open.  Cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat off.   Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Pour the stuffing into a large bowl and stir it around until it cools.  Add the egg and the ground pork.  Add a couple of more pinches of salt and grinds of black pepper. Mix well.

Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Clean the fat off of your chicken breasts and then careful cut them from the middle almost to the outside with a sharp knife, horizontally.   Open the flap to flatten the breast.  Do this to the other side and then the other whole breast.

Put one double breast skin side down and pile the stuffing on top of it.  Use your judgment, if it looks like too much stuffing, just don’t put quite all on.  (Leftover stuffing can be fried up – remember you have raw egg and pork in there – and eaten with a spoon.  Delicious!)

Put the other double breast on top the opposite direction.    If you imagine the breasts as hearts – although I realize they aren’t so heart-like since you spread them out, work with me here – then the pointy end will be skin up on the wide end of the bottom heart.

Here comes the tricky part.  If you have string, here are some instructions.  If you are using the netting, cut the bottom half off of a  very large plastic cup.   Put the netting on the cup like you would a tight sock, leaving one end open and on end with netting hanging off. 

Start stuffing the roast in one end and gradually pull the netting over the roast as it comes out the other.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take photos and do this as well.  I really need a staff photographer for shots like that. 

Poke any stuffing back in and try to straighten the skin out under the netting. 

Drizzle the roast with olive oil and pop in it the pre-heated oven.  Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375°F or 190°C.  Roast for 15 minutes more and then turn it over.

After half an hour in the oven.

The bottom after I turned it over. 
Roast for 1 hour and then check the internal temperature.  180°F or 82°C is done for poultry.   If your temperature is at least 170°F or 77°C, you can leave it out to rest.  It will reach the correct temperature on its own.  If it is more than 10°F under, pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and then test again.

Carefully cut the netting or string with scissors and gently lift it off.

After about 5-10 minutes of resting time, carve the roast into nice slices.   If gravy is your thing, make some with the pan juices.  You know I did.