Harvest Chicken Salad
Colorful mosaic of colors on a plate, each bursting with flavor and nutrition.
Back when layering salads was the thing to do, our family made this salad all the time. I am a fan of eggplant and bell pepper, but not so much of salads drowned in the dressing. Too sadly, that was how it was made most of the time. So I took it upon myself to fix the problem and make it just the way I like it.
Instead of layering the veggies, I arranged them by color and only very lightly drizzled them with the garlicky dressing. With how mellow the eggplant can be, garlic is the perfect companion here.
If you are not concerned with the visual presentation, it would be totally fine to just go ahead and mix everything together in one bowl. If anything this Harvest Chicken Salad will benefit from being able to sit and mend all the flavors together.
This salad is great for making ahead of time. Just cook everything, arrange on the plate, drizzle with the dressing, then cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
Given how bright, colorful and delicious this salad is, it will become an instant hit!
Harvest Chicken Salad
- 5 drumsticks
- 1 bay leaf
- 6-7 peppercorns
- 2 large peppers, assorted colors (2 cups diced)
- 3 medium Chinese eggplants (4 cups diced)
- 1 large onion, diced (3/4 cup diced)
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- Olive oil for sautéing vegetables
- Salt & black ground pepperDressing:
- 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
How to make Harvest Chicken Salad:
To Cook the Chicken – place drumsticks in about 2-3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a low simmer . Skim the top for impurities all throughout the cooking. After 20 minutes of cooking and skimming, add 2 teaspoons salt, about 5-6 peppercorns and 1 bay leaf. Cook until the meat is soft and is easily pulled off the bone with a fork.
Meanwhile work on the vegetables. Peel the eggplant and dice into 1 inch cubes. Rinse bell peppers well, cut off the top and bottom, remove the membranes and seeds then also dice into 1/2-1 inch cubes. Peel the onion then dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Rinse well and chop 1/2 cup parsley (not pictured).
Sauté the vegetables:
Add 1-2 tablespoons oil to a hot skillet and sauté cubed eggplants over high heat, browning on all sides. Add 1/2 cup broth from cooked chicken and cover with lid to speed up the cooking process. When the eggplant is sautéed, season with salt & pepper, then stir and remove to a bowl. Allow to cool. If you plan to arrange the salad, each ingredient separately, then put all vegetables in separate bowls, otherwise you can just continue adding vegetables to this bowl where you have the eggplant already.
Roughly wipe the skillet, add 1-2 tablespoons oil again and slightly brown up the pepper on all sides. Season with salt & pepper, cover with lid and cook on lower heat until it’s semi-soft. Do the same with the yellow pepper. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool.
Wipe the skillet, add more oil and saute the onion until golden brown in color. Allow to cool.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove skin and bones and discard. Shred the chicken meat with two forks into smaller pieces. Tip: add noodles to the remaining broth and cook until al dante and you have a light noodle soup.
Whisk the mayo, garlic and vinegar until smooth.
Now arrange the salad ingredients by color. Transfer the dressing to a ziplock bag and in a zig-zag motion drizzle on top. Toss to coat right before serving.
This salad can be eaten cold, as well as warmed up.
Bon Appetite & Happy Pinning!