Smoked Spanish Chicken Salad
Think hot. Even though it’s cold.
I have to thank Laurie Bakke for the inspiration for this salad. I was approached by her publicist to review her latest cookbook, “Laurie Bakke’s Cookbook.” It’s a collection of Laurie’s tried-and-true recipes from her years as a Chef in both restaurants and a catering business, as well as her favorites from other colleagues and friends. She generously sent me a copy to peruse, and peruse I did. Right to this chicken salad.
Although there are many, many fabulous recipes in this book through which I will plow ravenously, this one caught my eye for a few reasons. Observe the bulleted list, since lists make my spine tingle:
1. The title is “Spanish Smoked Chicken Salad.” I love all things Spanish (chorizo, Javier Bardem) and smoked.
2. There is bacon involved. Ca-ching.
3. Chez Hound is currently on week 2 of our 10-week, meat-and-vegetable-centric Challenge, and I can think of few other meat-and-vegetable-centric dishes I like better than chicken salad. Especially when there’s bacon involved. Ca-ching.
I did make some changes, but they were mostly based on my ingredients at hand, like using rotisserie chicken and Penzey’s brand spices instead of the recommended McCormick blends. The two biggest changes were that I added smoked Spanish paprika (because really, with a name like that, shouldn’t it have a little role?) and I left out the cheese per our Challenge guidelines. Yes, a little tear streamed down my face as I moved past the cheese to the next line item, but truth be told- I can’t imagine how cheese could have made this any better.
And that, mes amis, is something I don’t say very often.
I am really, really excited to cook many more things from Laurie’s book!! There are some classics, some trendies, but all goodies. Check out her blog here if you’d like to order one for yourself, or just thank her for developing this chicken salad. With bacon. Ca-ching!
Smoked Spanish Chicken Salad
Inspired by Laurie Bakke
1 whole rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded (about 4-6 cups chicken)
1/2-1 red pepper, diced
1/2-1 yellow pepper, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced and cut on a bias
4 slices thick-cut, applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and diced
1/4 c Italian parsley, minced
1/2 c blue cheese crumbles (I left this out, but go for broke, blue-cheese lovers!)
1/4 c dried cranberries or cherries (I chose cherries- more unique)
2 T good olive oil
1/2 c homemade or purchased mayonnaise
1/4 Dijon mustard
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp Penzey’s Northwoods Seasoning (or some sort of garlic-paprika-rosemary blend)
1 tsp Penzey’s California Pepper Blend (or some sort of pepper blend)
Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken, peppers, onions, bacon, parsley, cheese (if using), cherries/cranberries, and seasonings; mix together. In a small mixing bowl, stir the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard together. Stir mayonnaise mixture into chicken mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
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