As usual, the other half and I have eaten our way through the holidays...Tex-Mex on Christmas Eve, brunch and prime rib on Christmas Day. Still to come: champagne and pasta on New Years Eve, eggs benedict in the morning and fried catfish and black-eyed peas for dinner.
Today then was the break in the storm. Breakfast was green juice and an English muffin. Lunch was a hard-boiled egg and half a roast beef sandwich on multi-grain. And dinner was this delicious Chinese chicken salad. As luck would have it, we saw the recipe on television yesterday. As I am wont to do, I adapted it slightly, but kept the cooking method--which gives the chicken lots of flavor. With crisp veggies and a tangy/spicy dressing, it's a healthy meal that you'll be using well into 2014 to keep up with those New Years resolutions.
Chinese Chicken Salad
Makes 4-6 servings worth of chicken. Alter the vegetables as you see fit.
For the chicken and dressing:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons sambal oelek
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
For the salad:
Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
Carrot, peeled and grated
Celery, very thinly sliced (best done on a mandoline)
Red bell pepper, cut in very thin julienne
Scallion, thinly sliced
Chopped toasted cashews, peanuts or sliced almonds
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
Combine the orange juice and the next six ingredients (through sambal oelek) in a bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Remove 1/2 cup mixture to use to cook chicken. To remaining dressing, add sesame oil and canola oil, whisking until emulsified.
In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add the 1/2 cup reserved dressing mixture and heat until simmering. Add the chicken breasts and cover pan. Cook until chicken is done, about 12 minutes, turning several times. Remove the chicken to a plate and continue to simmer the liquid in the pan until reduced by half. Turn off the heat.
After the chicken has cooled slightly, shred it and return to the saute pan, adding 3 tablespoons of the finished dressing. Heat over low heat just until heated through and liquid has been absorbed by the chicken.
The chicken can be served over the salad warm, at room temperature or chilled. Add additional dressing to your liking and garnish with the nuts of your choice.