Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’


This salad simply bursts with flavour.  The creamy curry dressing brings the chicken, mangos, and cashews to life. I love how the salad tastes decadent even though the ingredients themselves are fairly ordinary.  And in the middle of winter, it reminds me of lazy Autumn afternoons.

It holds well and makes for tasty leftovers – reserve the cashews to keep them crunchy if you don’t plan on eating all of the salad in one sitting.

This recipe comes from the Gourmet cookbook, one of my favourites.  Some of their recipes can be fussy, but this one is fairly straightforward. When cooking for company, I will specially poach chicken breasts, but if it’s just myself, I will use whatever leftover chicken I have on hand in the fridge (be in light or dark meat, from a roast or grilled).


Curried Chicken Salad

(serves 4 to 6 as a main course)



For salad:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (~1.5 lbs total)

2 Tbsp kosher salt

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 firm, but ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup red seedless grapes, halved

1/2 cup roasted cashews, coarsely chopped


For dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup plain yogurt

5 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste



Poach the chicken:

Coat chicken with kosher salt in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature turning once or twice, for 15 minutes.

Rinse salt from chicken.  Poach chicken in a saucepan of barely simmering well-salted water, uncovered for 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and let chicken stand in cooking liquid, covered, until just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and cool for 10 minutes.

Make the dressing:

Meanwhile, whisk together the mayo, yogurt, curry powder, lime juice, honey, ginger, salt and pepper, in a large bowl.

Assemble the salad:

Cut chicken into 1/2- inch pieces and add to dressing. Add onion, mango, grapes, and cashews. Stir gently to combine.


If you are preparing the salad in advance, reserve cashews and add to salad just before serving to avoid them becoming soggy.

Bon Appetit!

– Catherine


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This year, I’ve been spoiled by my grandmother – which is not unusual – except that I am now receiving a quarterly magazine with fresh, classic, and inspiring recipes from Normandy. It’s great, coming at a time when I am often at a loss for ideas since cooking for one is simply less fun than for two. It’s amazing how easy it is to get entrenched in routine in the kitchen, and this magazine has done wonders for me this year in getting me back into the exciting realm of cooking.

I love how this salad captures the flavours of summer, while being filling enough for a weekday lunch. I’d recommend making this soon, while the tomatoes are still sweet off the vine.


Ingredients – for 4 servings

-1 Boursin cheese, garlic and herb
-1 boston leaf lettuce, washed and dried
-200g cooked Puy or French lentils (I cooked 1/2 cup in 2 cups vegetable broth for 25 minutes)
-1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
-1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
-1 Tbsp butter
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-2 chicken breasts
-1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped

For the vinaigrette:

-4 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp dijon mustard
-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
-1 Tbsp honey
-3 Tbsp chicken cooking jus
-salt and pepper


Cook the lentils until tender but still intact, about 25 minutes. Drain and reserve.

Dice the chicken breasts. Heat the butter and 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, sear the chicken. Cook 4-5 min per side until cooked through and golden. Season with salt and pepper. When the chicken is cooked, add 30mL of water to the pan and scrape the pan with a spatula to make the jus. Simmer until reduced and flavourful.

Coarsely chop the pistachios. Break up the lettuce leaves coarsely, add them to a large bowl with the lentils, the quartered tomatoes, the chicken, small spoonfuls of the Boursin, and sprinkle with the pistachios.

To make the vinaigrette, mix the chicken jus with the mustard, honey, vinegar and salt and pepper. Once it is smooth, add the olive oil one spoonful at a time while mixing. Season to taste and drizzle over salad. Serve immediately!


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Cooking for one still manages to stump me, and I often end up with at least an extra meal if not more in left-overs even if I try to keep things small. While many people would love this, I prefer the freedom of cooking something new almost every day. If what I make is freezable, it’s not a problem, because I can re-visit it after a break.  I now have even more appreciation for my wonderful left-over loving partner. Alas, for me all these left-overs represent an issue – I love to cook so much but my stomach simply is incapable of handling the quantities of food I make on any given day and so I have had to get used to eating left-overs several days in a row.

Well, since I’ll be living in Senegal for 6 months, I had better get used to repetition. It’s sort of like training, I guess. That, and the fact I probably won’t have access to a kitchen anything like I’m used to. I can’t wait to learn to cook Senegalese food!

Luckily, by the second week in Montréal I discovered it’s not quite as monotonous if I try to re-invent the left-overs. This is one of those recipes – one you can make with any left-over chicken or other meat/tofu.

Ingredients – 2 wraps

-1 leftover chicken breast or 3 drumsticks, cooked, meat sliced
-2 Tbsp capers
-6 slices sharp cheddar
-2 large soft wheat or corn wraps
-lemon juice
-salt and pepper
-veggies to eat on the side
-1 tsp olive oil


Slice the meat and cheese. Arrange the wrap on a counter, then place 2 slices of cheese across the wrap. Place the meat on top, along with the capers and a spritz of lemon juice. Top with the remaining cheese and salt and pepper, then close the wrap tightly. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook wrap on both top and bottom until the wrap is warm and has begun to turn golden.

Wash and cut up assorted veggies to eat on the side. I love carrots and tomatoes with this particular combination! You could also add some fresh spinach to the wrap before warming it if you like.


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Patty pans, also known as scallopini / button squash, are one of my favourite elusive treats of the early harvest season. This year I was seduced by a small box of them available at the market in Ste. Annes de Bellevue, although they were not even on my shopping list. They’re so delicate, and yet have so much attitude at the same time. I love them steamed, blanched (which is how they are made in this recipe), or roasted. Which ever way, as long as it is done for the shortest possible amount of time, results in a delightful and unique taste.

What I like about patty pans (and the green beans which I cooked at the same time) is it’s super easy to make, and so if combined with a rapid main-course recipe, dinner can be made within 20-25 minutes. Sometimes, that is just what has to happen. And, if you’re lucky enough to have some patty pans on hand, not only will the meal be ready rapidly – but it will also look quite nice.

Ingredients – 2 servings

-1 large chicken breast, filleted in two (or two if you are ravenously hungry)
-1 medium-large onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, germ removed, finely minced
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-coarsely cracked black (and red, if you have it) pepper
-pinch salt

-8-10 patty pan squash, washed, and sliced in half if they are on the larger side
-2 hand-fulls fresh green beans, stems removed
-nub of butter
-pinch salt
-squeeze of 1/4 lemon


Slice the chicken breast in half. Dice the onion and garlic and set aside. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat until warm. Add onions, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the onions from the pan and heat to just above medium heat. Sear chicken when the pan is hot – and generously cover each side while it is not being seared with cracked pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, around 7-8 minutes per side.

In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Quickly dip the green beans into the water, and after 1 minute add the patty pans. Rapidly return to a boil, and then strain immediately after 2 minutes. Quickly douse the vegetables in cold water for one second, before returning them to their pan with the nub of butter, the salt, and the squeeze of the lemon.

Once the chicken is cooked through, serve the veggies on the side. This can easily be accompanied with rice.

Hope you enjoy the simplicity of this recipe!


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I’ve taken to walking everywhere these days – those of you who know me know I’m one of those die-hard Toronto bikers, going all-year round. Alas, my freewheel is fried (a usual march phenomenon, they don’t like salt). So this means I briskly walk through Toronto for approximately 90 minutes every day at least, and my favorite thing to do while walking is to think about life, and the food we’re going to make for dinner. A week ago I loved to watch the progress of the crocus shoots, but for now they are covered in a white blanket and so I focus on dinner instead.

Tonight, roasted chicken sounded just right. I like how they basically make themselves, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs can completely transform a common item of food into something that is a delightful treat.


-9 cloves garlic, 5 sliced finely, and 4 remaining in their skin but bruised
-1 bunch fresh thyme
-2 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 leeks, sliced in half lengthwise, dark greens removed, and washed thoroughly
-1 onion, quartered
-1/2-1 tsp sea salt
-2 bay leaves
-zest from 1 lemon (wash the lemon well before zesting)
-1 whole chicken


Preheat the oven to 400F.  Wash and cut the leeks lengthwise, and arrange in the bottom of a roasting pan, cut side down, to make a roasting rack for the chicken.  Place the whole bruised garlic cloves as well as the onion in the bottom of the pan as well, and cover with 1/2 inch water.

To prepare the chicken, slice the garlic, and slip some of the garlic and 4 sprigs of thyme under the skin on the breast (push it under as best you can).  Remove the leaves from 4 more sprigs of thyme.  Brush the olive oil onto the chicken, and sprinkle the salt and thyme over the whole bird.  Put the remaining sliced garlic into the cavity, along with 5-6 sprigs thyme.  Place the bay leaves in the water at the bottom of the pan.   Tie up the legs of the chicken so they do not dry out with kitchen twine.  Place this in the hot oven, and roast until it is cooked according to its weight (the best predictor of done-ness is when the meat’s internal temperature reaches approximately 170F).  If you do not have a thermometer, my rule of thumb is close to 45 minutes per kg (or 2.2lb).

Half-way into the cooking, baste the chicken well.  Continue until 10 minutes before, when it’s time to sprinkle some lemon zest on top of the chicken. When it is ready, remove it from the oven and let it sit 10 minutes on a serving platter to finish cooking while you make the jus.

To make the jus, remove the garlic from the bottom of the pan and strain the rest into a sauce pan, pressing to get as much juice out of the leeks and onion. Let it sit for 3-4 minutes so the fat separates, and then skim the fat off the top.  Add 1/2 cup water, and bring to a simmer.  You can add a couple of sprigs of thyme if you like.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let it simmer down so that there are about 1-2 Tbsp per person.  This is just for the jus, it is not thick like gravy.  Drizzle the jus over top of the chicken when you serve it – and the roasted garlic in the individual cloves makes for a delicious addition as well.  Just prior to serving, add a dusting of finely chopped extra zest and thyme (not much, about 1/2 tsp per serving).


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This is the first post in a series from a trip from which I just returned.  For the past 10 days I have been travelling throughout Belize, exploring indigenous perspectives on food security and health (which explains my gourm(eh)? absence in the past few weeks as I challenged myself not to check the internet while away).  I’m not quite ready to write about my impressions as they’re still stewing away in my mind – and I’m sure it will become apparent how it changed many things for me in the next little while.

I learned to make this soup (which is eaten with tortillas, which will be posted soon) with Rosa, a mother in the Mayan village of Laguna in the Toledo district of Belize.  This is the traditional soup of the Mayan people, which they eat somewhat regularly, often for special occasions but not always only special occasions.  Thank you Rosa for sharing this with me.

Mayan Caldo - Traditional Chicken Soup made in Laguna, Belize.  Thank you Rosa for sharing your recipe with me.

Mayan Caldo – Traditional Chicken Soup

(6 servings)

Ingredients (adapted to those that can be found outside of the Belizian Jungle)

-2 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
-1 lb summer squash (Choco is the actual ingredient – I think summer squash would work as an approximation) cut into chunks
-3 ripe plantain, cut in half and then quarters (lengthwise)
-1/2 a head garlic, mashed
-1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
-1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (Kolantro, which is similar to cilantro, is the original ingredient)
-1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
– (1/4 cup Tep leaves, chopped – I have no idea what this was – it smelled somewhat like bergamot)
-2 tsp Annato paste (this is a red pigment made from the Annato plant – apparently it can be found in Latin American/Brazilian stores)
-12 cups water
-Salt, to taste


Put water into a large soup pot, and drop the washed chicken pieces into it as well as the salt.  Bring to a boil.  Once water is boiling, add the vegetables and then the herbs, then the Annato, but not the plantain.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.  Then add the plantain and cook for a remaining 10 minutes.  This soup is accompanied by corn tortillas.


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After Catherine posted her Chicken Dijonaise recipe, I had to laugh because that very same night we had ‘Poulet Dable’, which is a similar recipe to hers, although still different enough that I could justify posting it a few weeks later.  Plus, when is there ever enough mustardy goodness in a main course?  Another benefit of having two similar recipes is that it allows one to see how a recipe can be altered.

I thought I’d wait a while to share my take on the recipe, or actually, Dorie Greenspan’s take (which we changed ever-so-slightly).  This is a typical meal in Normandy, where my family comes from, and when I’m missing the green moors and the salty taste of the ocean on my lips, I crave these flavours especially.

The spiciest condiment in the french kitchen gives this dish it's name - mustard

From Dorie Greenspan’s “Around my French Table”, one of my favorite cook books recently published (page 217).


-2 whole chicken breasts, sliced at least in two, or 4 thighs and drumsticks, skin removed (I always get bone-in because it’s cheaper and more delicious)
-1 Tbsp butter
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 large shallot, finely diced
-1 garlic clove (not too big or not too pungent), germ removed, and very finely chopped
-1/3 cup dry white wine
-1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream or crême fraiche, or table cream if you must)
-3 Tbsp extra strong dijon mustard (the stronger the better)
-1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (this is something that isn’t normally added in France, but I find that flavours in cream, butter, and poultry are generally less strong in Canada so this helps perk it up)
-1 pinch (1/8 tsp) nutmeg
-1 tsp thinly shredded gruyere per person (optional)


Preheat oven to 200F.  In a large skillet, heat  oil and butter until butter has melted.  Add chicken, and brown both sides, about 5 minutes on each side (try not to touch it while it is browning, so keeping the temperature low enough, in the middle range is key so it doesn’t burn but also browns nicely).  If there’s too much chicken to make it at once, try doing one batch and then another.  After the chicken is cooked through, place it in a covered dish in the oven to keep warm.  Ensure there’s still enough oil in the pan (if not, just add a tad), and sauté the shallot and the garlic for a few minutes, until they are soft.  Then add wine, and once the wine bubbles, add the cream, and stir to remove any bits attached on the pan.  Once this all comes to a simmer, add the mustard, stirring it in, as well as the Worchestershire sauce.  Season with a little salt if you like, and sprinkle the gruyere onto the chicken at the end and cover with sauce.  Serve this with boiled potatoes, rice, or even macaroni.  For me, this really qualifies as Normal comfort food, and always makes me think of my lovely grandmother.


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