There are many different recipes for Chicken and Wild Rice Salad on food blogs on the Internet and I think most cookbooks include recipes for this popular salad as well. However, I don’t think you will be able to find this delicious combination of ingredients anywhere else, and I do hope you will give it a try.
Kathleen, a friend of mine from Thomasville, brought me this delicious salad several years ago and I could never get it out of my mind. I searched and searched for a recipe with the same ingredients but never could find one, so I finally called Kathleen and she was happy to share it. To this day, I still have the recipe written on the back of an old envelope and it makes me think of her whenever I see it.
This nutritious salad is loaded with vitamins and is just as healthy as it is delicious! Kathleen tells the story that she likes it so much, that one time when she went on a diet, she ate it for lunch and dinner every day for a week and ended up losing 5 pounds….
It does have a fairly long list of ingredients and there is a good amount of chopping involved, but once that’s done, it goes together really quickly. The ingredients include wild rice, chicken, apples, red onion, red pepper, dried currants or golden raisins, celery, roasted pecans, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and kosher salt and pepper.
It is really important to use plain wild rice, not a wild rice blend. Wild rice is actually not a rice or grain, but a native North American long-grain marsh grass, hailing from the Great Lakes. It has a wonderful toasty, nutty flavor and is a little crunchy. My sister, Nancy tried this recipe one time with brown rice and she said that it did not turn out well. For some reason, I always have a hard time finding it at the grocery store among all of the other types of rice and rice blends. It’s usually in a small box or jar on the top shelf. Also, I always substitute dried cranberries or craisins for the dried currants, because I keep them in my pantry. Finally, to save time, I have also used a cooked rotisserie chicken instead of roasting chicken breasts.
To make this Chicken and Wild Rice Salad, first preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken breasts, skin side up, on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until your chicken is cooked through. Set aside until cool. When the chicken is cool, remove meat from the bones and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into cubes.
To cook the wild rice, bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, add 1/4 tsp of salt and 2/3 cup of wild rice. Lower the heat, and cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the water and is done. Pour into a colander to drain. Let cool.
In a large bowl, add, 2 large tart apples which have been chopped but not peeled, 1/3 of a red onion which has been finely minced, 1/2 of a large red bell pepper which has been chopped, 1/2 cup of dried currants or golden raisins, 1/2 cup of chopped celery, and 1/2 cup of roasted pecan pieces. Add the rice and cooked chicken. Mix well.
In a mason jar, mix 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Shake well and pour it on the salad. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it.
Chicken and Wild Rice Salad can be served warm or cold. I usually serve it on lettuce leaves along with some cheese biscuits. (If you live in Tallahassee, Tomato Land has some delicious Cheese and Herb frozen biscuits that pair wonderfully with this dish.)
**I would like to thank my friend Lolita Brawner for coming over and using her camera to take pictures of this salad for my blog. Lolita is an experienced photographer and she helped me style the food and gave me some tips for better food pictures. Thanks again Lolita!
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