Curried Farfalle Chicken Salad
|November 17, 2010||Posted by Cheeks under Recipe, Salads, Side Dishes|
It happened again. I got home from work today and decided that I needed to make two meals, instead of just one. Why do I do this? Much like the Boy Scouts who are taught to “always be prepared,” it seems I am ingrained with a need to always be prepared for my next eating experience. This leads to endless thinking ahead about meals, wondering how to use leftovers while I’m cooking the main event, and many other future-food-related habits that leave A shaking his head and wondering who this food beast is that he married.
This endless food scheming has its advantages, however. Nothing pleases me more, especially in the winter, than spending a Sunday afternoon making large batches of soup, breads, snacks, stews, and the like, giving us a rich cache of foodstuffs to eat for lunch and otherwise throughout the week. I’ll often make up a pasta salad or other cold dish to keep in the fridge for A to eat when I’m at work and to fill my dingy old lunch bag. I like to have food on hand, all right? Because god forbid I’d ever let the fridge go bare.
With this thought in mind, I set about making a recipe that had been bookmarked for ages – so long, in fact, that I had totally forgotten about it: Curry Chicken Pasta Salad from The Pioneer Woman. The combination of sweet golden raisins, crunchy celery & almonds, and spicy curry powder was enticing, and it seemed a great single-bowl lunch dish to eat the week through.
Then, I noticed the dressing: full-fat mayo, full-fat sour cream, and heavy cream? Have mercy. I dunno, I just can’t cook like that. I mean – I’ll eat the crap out of crap at restaurants (fried cheese? Sign me up) but when it comes to my own kitchen, I just cannot do it. Still, it had lots of good ideas – cooking the pasta in the water you poach the chicken with, adding flavor to the noodles while saving a pot and re-using the water; mixing chicken and fruit and nuts and veggies into what some might at first glance assume to be an unhealthy dish. But I wanted to change that perception.
Instead, I scrapped her three-fold fat attack and used 2% Fage Greek yogurt, thinned with a bit of 1% milk. I also left out the sugar, figuring the raisins would be sweet enough. I also added in some green onions, since it just seemed right for the recipe (and I had bought a giant bag of them at Trader Joe’s). And I decreased the amount of chicken to 1.5 small breasts, in fact only cooking one and chopping up the remainder of a leftover chicken breast that was just hangin’ out in the fridge. Since you use a large amount of curry, and I took the initiative to add Old Bay (I am ADDICTED to it) it needed barely any additional seasoning but a pinch of salt.
We loved the combination of flavors from the curry and the raisins with the more vegetal elements. It dried out a bit in the fridge overnight – I probably should have reserved a bit of the yogurt to mix-in as needed in the days following, but then again bringing it to room temperature loosens it up a bit too. It’s packed with protein, so it’s a nice filling, nutritious lunch. Now, where did I put those cheese sticks…?
Visit the link above for the original recipe, or see my slight adaptations after the JUMP.
Curried Farfalle Chicken Salad
1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups dry farfalle pasta
1 cup sliced celery
½ cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup golden raisins
½ cup sliced green onions
8 oz low-fat greek yogurt
1-2 Tbsp low-fat milk
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp salt
In a medium/large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Poach chicken about 12-15 minutes or until cooked through; remove. Add pasta to same boiling water; cook 8-10 minutes or until soft (just past al dente, but not to the mushy stage).
While pasta is cooking, chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large mixing bowl along with celery, almonds, raisins, and onions. In a small bowl, whisk yogurt, milk, and seasonings until a smooth, pale yellow dressing comes together. Add more milk as needed to keep the dressing slightly thin, so that it can soak into the hot pasta.
When pasta finishes cooking, drain and add to bowl with chicken. Drizzle with about half of dressing, and stir well. Add remaining dressing (reserving some, if desired, to moisten salad later) and mix well. Season as needed with S&P.