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Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates

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I have a confession. First, I have never made chicken salad. Second, I don’t think until I’ve tried a waldorf salad I ever thought that a chicken salad could be delicious. I’m no expert, but I think it’s safe to say that when you add chicken, lemon juice, walnuts, and the kitchen sink you’ll get magic. And that’s exactly what happened.

You can omit whatever you like from the below recipe but I just thought what would be appealing, both visually, texturally, and …. well that’s it.

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Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates

(makes approx 6 cups)

  • 2 chicken breasts, boiled in salted water and diced/ cubed
  • 3 tbsp nigella seeds, or black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup or more of pomegranate seeds
  • About a handful of shredded sweet cabbage
  • juice from one lemon
  • generous salt and pepper shaking
  • approx 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • approx 1 1/2 cups grapes, cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
  • 2 cups of light mayo
  • 2 tbsp dried basil

Start off by dicing the chicken, if you haven’t already done so. Make sure that it’s not just in cubes, but in actual small pieces, the size of a grape, no larger. This really helps with the consistency of most salads you’re used to, like in the markets or restaurants. Add in the nigella and pomegranate seeds. Add in the cabbage (mine was already pre-shredded thanks to Trader Joe’s) and squeeze the juice of a lemon over the whole thing; add zest if you like as well. I was too lazy to be honest. 

Add the salt and pepper and mix together.

Add in the walnuts, grapes (cut in half), celery and basil. Finish off with Mayo. Stir until everything is coated. Add or decrease the amount of the mayo based on your taste. About 2 cups was just right for me to coat everything and not be COVERED in the mayo. Which would be too overpowering. If you can’t find pomegranate seeds, I’d recommend adding in apples for added crunch. 

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Corned Beef to Celebrate March

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I was trying to figure out what to make this weekend, and I couldn’t think of anything better than corned beef. The first time I’ve made corned beef I followed a recipe and roasted it. The end result was dry and chewy. I knew I should have boiled it, but the instructions on the package just said roasting. This time I wouldn’t have any of that nonsense and I decided to do some research.

Apparently, roasting is very popular but timing varies between beef roasts and it’s just a guessing game. That’s not something I’m comfortable with. A few recipes however did mention braising. Braising is boiling but in the oven, basically. That sounded like a melding of the two things that people argued the most about. So I decided to try it.
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Corned Beef with Onion, Carrot, and Cabbage

1 3-lb package of corned beef with spices included
fennel seeds
black peppercorns
coriander seeds
mustard seeds
1 small head of lettuce, cut into half and chopped into strips.
4 cloves garlic
3 carrots, peels and cut into half
1 medium onion, cut into quarters

In a large pot add the corned beef and the packaged ingredients. Fill pot with lukewarm warm 4 inches above the meat. Put on medium high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer while skimming the skum off the top of the water for 15 minutes. When you skim, chances are you’re also going to be scooping the spices as well. Not to worry, you’ll be adding those before you put the pot into the oven.

After 15 minutes preheat oven to 325 degrees F and add carrots, onions, and garlic to the pot. Simmer for 4-6 more minutes. Add in the spices (seeds and peppercorns) according to your tastes, usually 2 tbsp each. Cover the pot with foil, and cover that tightly with the lid.

Place in oven for anywhere between 2 hr 45 min to 3 hrs.

Take out of the oven, and gently peel off the foil (careful not to burn yourself with the steam). Take out the corned beef and place into  foil, wrapping all sides tightly around the meat to keep with warm and tender. Attempt to remove the garlic (it’ll disintegrate, so be gentle with it), and add in the cabbage. Cook for about 8 minutes.

Excuse the spot by the plate. Some Guinness couldn't help but spill.

Excuse the spot by the plate. Some Guinness couldn’t help but spill.