This may seem a little industrious for Soulsubsistence, but while waiting for the snow-sleet-hailstone nightmare to stop (perhaps stupidly, this is Cumbria) before the dog gets her daily gallop, I thought I would share this rocking chickeny salady thing.
Quick twine about ingredients
Chicken doesn’t have to be breast. It really, really doesn’t. Anyone who read the 13 banned foods post from last night should have been thoroughly put off all artificially-reared chicken anyway, and breast doesn’t just contain all those yummy growth hormones, it also gets the added delight of injected water. That’s to make it look fat and lucious. Because of course, size is all that matters. (You can tell men run the world, can’t you?! (sorreeee, guys …)
There’s better flavour in on-the-bone meat anyway, so picking up the cheaper thigh and drumsticks is a great way to get organic and free range chicken without having to save for them.
The other bugbear that gets me wrapped up in a rant is people who think about what they would like to eat, and then go out to buy it, leaving a refrigerator stocked high with all kinds of perfectly servicable ingredients. The best (and most economic) way to cook is to stick your head in the fridge and see what you’ve got. That’s what happened here, but it mainly occurs every night in this house.
I was told recently that it’s more of a skill than I realise; that ‘normal’ people don’t always have the ability to concoct what they want to eat from an array of leftovers and vegetables, but I think it’s more about practice than anything else. It’s a mindset, and it can be broken to great effect.
Chicken, chorizo and anything-goes-with-pasta salad
Take a couple of cooked chicken drummers, strip the meat and throw in a suitably-sized bowl. Thinly slice a generous handful of spinach, and mix with the chicken.
Get the pasta on to cook – I picked orzo as a shape; little rice-shaped pieces, but really, any shape will do. Quantity? How hungry are you?
Slice up or dice a small onion, chop some sun-dried tomatoes, a piece of red pepper, and cut up a handful of black olives into halves.
Slice – super-thin – about an inch of chorizo. More if you’ve made enough pasta for the 5,000.
Wang the well-drained pasta into the chicken and spinach while it’s still hot, because it will wilt the spinach ever-so-slightly.
Add in the rest of the chopped ingredients (and remember that other additions will work beautifully too) and mix until it’s all looking pretty even.
I love vinaigrette dressings to a fault. I’m sure a creamy, mayonnaisy dressing would be lovely with this, but since I’ve eaten almost a kilo of mayo in the past month (oh, glorious King Edward potato salad, how do I love you, let me count the ways …), I decided to go with vinaigrette.
Using the almost empty jar of English mustard, I tipped in a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, a hefty pinch of dried basil, about a clove of grated garlic, a large pinch of Maldon salt, and added EVOO at the rate of approximately three-times the quantity of red wine vinegar (the balsamic is more ‘to taste’).
Give it a good shake so it emulsifies, taste it, adjust if necessary (good luck with that, I don’t have any tips for dressings, they’re my nightmare) and add cautiously to the salad, tossing it as you go.