Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wild Rice Salad with Chicken (or leftover Turkey)

This is one of those recipes that I found in the newspaper maybe three weeks ago.  Since then, we've made it approximately 26 times, and it's been gobbled down every time.

Obviously, it's intended for the efficient re-use of leftover chicken or turkey--you need about two cups of either.  Since I don't always have chicken laying around the house, I've also included a little coda that shows how to prepare chicken breasts specifically for this recipe.

Don't worry about either the onions or the hot pepper sauce bothering your fussy kids:  the grapes and apples will distract them, and I find that they also generally like the chewy-ishness (yes, that's a real word) of the wild rice.  But then, who doesn't?

Wild Rice Salad with Chicken (or Turkey)

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 cup uncooked wild rice
3 cups chicken broth (more or less, depending on whether or not you're using a rice steamer)
3 cups water (again, more or less)
2 cups leftover chicken (or 1-1.5 lb. uncooked chicken breast--see note, below)
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup celery
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/4 parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Granny Smith Apple, cut into wedges
1 cup chicken broth

For the dressing:
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce

  1. Rinse the three rices and mix them together.  If you have a rice steamer, pour them in to the steamer and measure in the appropriate amount of liquid, being sure to use equal parts chicken broth and water.  If you're NOT using a rice steamer, you'll likely need a total of six cups of liquid (or slightly less)--again, using equal parts chicken broth and water.  
  2. Start the rice.  Go read a book or play with your kids or something.  (Obviously, this step can be done ahead of time).  
  3. If you DON'T have any pre-cooked chicken, at this point follow the instructions in my note below.  
  4. Once the rice is done, scrape it into a large bowl to cool.  Stir it on occasion to let the heat out. 
  5. Taste the rice and add a little salt if it needs it. 
  6. In a small sauce pan, heat up the chicken broth.  When it's just starting to boil, drop in your apple wedges.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes until just soft.  Remove apple wedges, get rid of the chicken broth. 
  7. Chop your cooked chicken, the celery, the green onions, and the parsley.  Slice your grapes.  Mix all of this together with the walnut pieces and the salt and pepper.  When the apples have cooled, chop them into thirds and add them as well. 
  8. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing.  
  9. Combine the rice, the chicken mixture, and the dressing.  Add additional seasoning if necessary.  
  10. Serve. 
NOTE:  If you don't have pre-cooked or leftover chicken, do this while the rice is cooking. 
  1. Trim and separate 1-1.5 lbs. chicken breasts, then cut each breast in half again. 
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil and one Tbsp. butter in a small frying pan.  
  3. Brown the chicken very very lightly.  You don't want to form a hard coating.  
  4. Add roughly 1 cup chicken broth.  
  5. Cover.  Bring to boil.  Cook on medium-low for 8-12 minutes.  (You can also throw in the apple wedges at this point, if you'd like.)
  6. Once the chicken is done, chop and continue the recipe until completed.  

Family Ratings

Lucy, who pretty much loves everything:  10
Jamie, who's getting really fussy, but likes the grapes and wild rice:  10
Will, who's 13 and feeling kind of contrary:  8
Ellen, who's a little surprised I'm cooking something so healthy:  10
Paul, who's even more surprised:  10