Home Smoked Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

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Home Smoked Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

My new addiction is home smoked chicken thanks to the outdoor grilling class at Cook at Cook the Books. It really does put all of the bought stuff to shame.  So much moister, lighter and delicately flavoured with herbs and aromatics.  Even better it really couldn't be easier.  Make a brine, let it cool, brine the chicken for a couple of hours, heat up the BBQ, soak some wood chips, chuck wood chips on BBQ, place the chicken on a foil tray and on to the BBQ and let the smoking begin.  45 minutes later and you have some totally delicious home smoked chicken.  You won't buy the store bought stuff again, ever again.  So this summer I think there will be a lot of smoking, on the BBQ that is!  Most definitely fish and thinking an apple wood smoked pork fillet would work a treat too, not to mention some rosemary smoked lamb.

Today saw the smoked chicken made its way in to a salad.  I wanted light, but lots of flavour and I like a few different textures plus it's a food blog so I wanted it to look pretty too.  Well I think this salad delivers on all counts.  Pretty as picture, festive even, full of flavour and all sorts of tasty little morsels loitering on the plate.
Home Smoked Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Almonds
Serves 4
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup fresh chickpeas, if you can't get your hands on fresh substitute with the canned stuff.
1 smoked chicken breast, sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Mustard Vinaigrette
1 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar, I used muscatel as it has such a lovely sweetness.
Place the spinach on a platter and top with the chickpeas and most of the cranberries.  Add the sliced chicken and sprinkle over the toasted almonds and the rest of the cranberries.  For the dressing whisk together all the ingredients, taste and season as needed.  Season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle with a little of the dressing and tuck in.

This could be my new favourite salad.  The chicken so moist and subtly infused with all the goodness from its briny bath.  Add to that the fresh chickpeas, fresher and an almost pea like flavour, the dried cranberries bring a not too sweet fruitiness and the crunchy toasty almonds all drizzled with a little mustard vinaigrette was really seriously tasty. A little festive flecked with crimson cranberries and the perfect lighter dish for the upcoming festive season and all the inevitable, but delicious, over indulgences.

If you like this you might like this Grilled Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes


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