Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Orange Chicken & Pepita Salad

Charlotte gave me a lovely recipe book/magazine for my birthday, so today I tried the first recipe from it! I thought this one looked like a really nice light summer meal.

Orange Chicken & Pepita Salad

Serves 2 (I doubled most things and made for 4)
Preparation: 15 mins
Cooking: 20 mins

2 tablespoons pepitas (edible pumpkin seeds)
1 cup chicken stock (I used the powder stuff made up with water)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice,
plus 1 tablespoon extra
2 small chicken breast fillets
1/2 cup long grain white rice
1 small red capsicum, finely chopped
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Baby cos lettuce leaves, to serve

I am going to write my own method, because in the recipe book it was for a "microwave meal". I didn't make it as a microwave meal, used the good old stove-top.

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Put the water and chicken stock powder (if using that method) and first portion of orange juice in a pan deep enough that the chicken will be pretty much submerged when added. Heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes or until it's almost boiling.

Add the chicken (which I sliced fairly thinly) to the liquid.

Stir occasionally, until the chicken has changed colour and is well cooked through. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Meantime, chop your veges and pop the pepitas in the oven - they won't need long, don't over-brown them like I did - (although they were very crispy and yummy...)

At this point, you can also stick the rice on to cook (I used a rice-cooker - those things are magic!) and make the drizzle sauce. I put more mustard than the recipe said because it tasted quite olive-oil-y (which isn't my favourite).

When the chicken and stock is reasonably cool, drain all the stock off to leave the chicken - you can discard the stock or make it into soup - but it's freaking summer, so probably not the best idea.

Arrange the lettuce on the plates.

When the rice is cooked, let it cool for a bit, then mix in the chives, capsicum, pepitas and celery. Serve immediately on the lettuce, and top with plenty of chicken. Add the sauce and season with a little salt/pepper (it is a very mild meal and may need quite a bit of seasoning, depending on what you like).

I really enjoyed making/eating this. It combined many subtle flavours and textures to present a very impressive looking, extremely easy meal. It could be improved I think, by perhaps spicing up the dressing somehow - maybe I will try again sometime. :)

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