"I think this chicken is going to take almost two hours," I told her.
"How big is it?" she asked.
"Six pounds!" I replied, feeling like a proud parent.
My sister cooed appreciatively. "That's almost a small turkey!" she admired.
I like roasting big chickens: they cook better and more evenly, I find, and as long as I start them on the breast side and then flip them, they don't dry out. A few hours later, the husband and I dug into the bird, with crispy potatoes and garlicky broccoli rabe on the side.
The next night we had a rerun dinner.
After that, the sides were gone, but there was still a lot of chicken left, mostly white meat, since as I explained a few weeks ago, between the two of us, the thighs, drummies, and wings are the first to go. While leftover chicken can go a thousand different ways, recently I've been on a chicken salad kick. I usually make it the same way, with measurements varying depending on how much chicken I have to use as a base. But basically it's:
- chicken (cubed, not shredded)
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- a fresh herb (my favorites are tarragon, basil, or chives)
I like chicken salad with grapes, too, and have enjoyed ones with walnuts or pecans. But, I don't include either of those things in my recipe. I rarely have a bunch of grapes on hand, and nuts require toasting and cooling. The beauty of chicken salad is in its quick, satisfying assembly: chop, mix, taste, adjust, eat.I like it best just on a bed of arugula. I have turned it into a sandwich, but it's too messy. One might wonder if this is because I greedily load up the bread with too much salad. This would be an excellent point.
I think the chicken salad sandwich might work best in a pita pocket. When I suggested this to the husband, he just started to laugh at me. He thinks it's funny, how obsessive I am about cooking and eating. On the other hand, he was very pleased the other morning when I informed him that instead of buying a lunch, he could take some of the chicken salad I'd just whipped up, chock full of sweet apples and bright green chives. Who's laughing now?