Royal Walnut Spiced Chicken Salad

  • Yield 4 servings
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Cook 25 mins

Ingredients

4 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 lbs. total)
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 -- garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed between your fingers
1/2 cup California walnut halves
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup water
4 large handfuls (about 8 cups) mixed greens
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, preferably flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
-- Half a Moroccan preserved lemon*, finely chopped (or about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice)
-- Grilled flat bread or pita bread, to accompany the salad

Instructions

  1. To cook the chicken, you will need a skillet about 10 inches across and 2 inches deep.  Place the chicken in the pan and sprinkle with the onion and garlic.  In a small bowl stir together the cumin, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, pepper, salt and saffron; sprinkle over the chicken, turning the pieces to coat them evenly.   Distribute the walnuts and raisins around the chicken and add the water.       
  2. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover it loosely with foil.  With a slotted spoon, remove the walnuts and raisins to a small bowl and set aside.  Reserve the liquid in the pan.  
  3. In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the cilantro, parsley and mint.  Add the olive oil and toss to coat the leaves evenly.  Add the chopped lemon or lemon juice, toss to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper.      
  4. To assemble the salad, cut the cooked chicken diagonally into slices about 1/2-inch thick.  Spread the prepared greens on a large platter and arrange the chicken around and over the greens, overlapping the slices slightly.  Sprinkle the walnuts and raisins over the salad, then spoon some of the reserved cooking liquid over the chicken to moisten it.  Serve with grilled flat bread or pita bread.

*Note: preserved lemon is easy to make at home, or can be purchased at a specialty foods store. 

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