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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autumn Curried Chicken Salad

The foliage is glowing in Connecticut, and we're going apple and cinnamon crazy at Sizzle Grove.  This smokey chicken salad combines autumnal ingredients like apples and cinnamon with a few Indian curry-esque spices for a cool dish with a warm flavor.  It may look like a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, but it's actually way easier than it appears on paper... or on a computer screen.  If you're like me, a lot of this stuff is already on hand in the spice cabinet (except maybe turmeric and smoked paprika... no screw that, you should totally have this stuff!).

1 lb. of chicken thighs
A few slices of white or yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika, or cayenne
Pinch of salt
A dash of water

1. Wash chicken thighs, set aside in bowl.
2. Mix all other ingredients (except water) in a blender or food processor.  Blend until thick, adding water until it becomes a pourable sauce.
3. Pour sauce over chicken, mix it all up, and let it marinade a few hours.
4. Light a small batch of coals, pour into smoker, and add plenty of soaked wood chips (wood chips, as opposed to large chunks, are useful for faster cooking times).
5. Put chicken skin side down on grill, close to heat if possible, adjusting vents to obtain a temperature of about 375 degrees F.
6. Once skin is seared and crisp, flip over.  Grill for 30 minutes or so until chicken's juices run clear, or until internal temperature of chicken is 165 degrees F.
7. Remove chicken, let rest five minutes.  Dice it up into small pieces.

Diced chicken from Step One
3 celery stalks
1 small apple
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp spicy mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper

1. Mix mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper together in a bowl until it forms a dressing.
2. Dice up celery stalks, mix into dressing.  If leaves are on it, include them - they add great flavor.
3. Dice up apple into small pieces, mix into dressing.
4. Add chicken to the mix and stir it all together.  Refrigerate and serve with fresh sliced bread or ontop of a bed of mixed greens.

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