When I was just learning to cook, I did not like to handle raw meat. I avoided any recipe that called for me to handle raw meat with my bare hands. This basically meant no meatballs, no lamb chops, no burgers, and hardly any chicken on the bone–forget whole chicken. I’m not sure what it was about raw meat at the time, but I just did not want to touch it. Perhaps it was the cool, damp, dare I say – slimy — surface. Or maybe the risk of food contamination. Or the very likely possibility that I would over cook and ruin the meat. Who knows? As a result, back then, I was always looking for recipes that I could make without needing to touch the meat. Yeah. It’s not easy finding non-vegetarian recipes where you don’t need to handle the meat when you prepare it.
Of course, now I have no qualms about handling raw meat, but I still have a few favorite recipes from those times. These recipes tend to be quick, easy, with very little fuss. This curried chicken salad starts with one of these no-touch recipes I found in Real Simple about ten years ago using rotisserie chicken. I’ve modified the recipe over the years to use chicken breasts, but it still doesn’t require much contact with raw meat, which just might suit the new cooks out there. It’s a great recipe for summer picnics, easy al fresco dinners, and lunch the day after. And of course, since I’m not a fan of mayo, this recipe relies on plain yogurt for the tang and creaminess.
Did you or do you have hesitations around certain ingredients or techniques in the kitchen? What are they?
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 cucumber, pealed, seeded, and chopped
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup freshly chopped mint
- On a cutting board or plate, salt and pepper the chicken breasts generously.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic.
- One the garlic is fragrant, add the chicken to the pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Don’t flip the chicken!
- After the first four minutes, nudge the chicken, it should come away from the pan pretty easily, if it is really sticking to the pan, leave it for another minute. You want the chicken to brown on the first side and pull easily away from the bottom of the pan.
- Once the first side is browned, flip, and add the onions to the pan, sprinkling them around the pan. I like to add the onions to the pan to soften the onions and brown them a little to take the bite out of the raw onions.
- After another 4-5 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through. You can slice one of the pieces to make sure it is cooked and the juices run clear.
- Let the chicken rest on a cutting board and add the soften onions to a large bowl, removing the garlic slices.
- In the meantime, in small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper if using. Set that aside.
- With a fork and knife, cut the chicken breasts into small pieces and place into the large bowl with the onions.
- Add the celery, carrots, cucumbers, walnuts, and mint to the large bowl with the chicken and onions, then toss every thing together with the yogurt sauce.
- Serve and enjoy!
- This salad is great on a bed of fresh greens, with a side of crusty bread, or on top of rice or quinoa for a flavorful and healthful meal!
Eating in is easy! Check out the weekly line up of #WeekdaySupper recipes to help plan your weekly menus. Most of the weekday supper recipes can be made in just 30 minutes with normal pantry items. For May 2015, all of the #WeekdaySupper recipes feature foods that can be enjoyed outside!
Here is this week’s line-up:
Monday – Strawberry and Avocado Salad by Take A Bite Out of Boca
Tuesday – Bratwurst Tacos by Palatable Pastime
Wednesday – Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken by Feed Me, Seymour
Thursday – Mayo-Free Curried Chicken Salad by eating in instead (That’s me!)
Friday – Italian Chicken Avocado Burgers by Momma’s Meals