This year, Christmas Eve in my house was a busy day of running around sandwiched between two family celebrations. Amid what seemed like countless trips to the supermarkets, an emergency dash to my folks’ house to rescue an esky (cooler) full of perishable food left behind by my sister, and of course, wrapping presents, I was relieved that dinner was already sorted.
About 15 years ago, my parents moved back to Australia after a stint living in the US. Along with all their other stuff, they brought a smoker with them, which gets dragged out at least once every year to smoke chickens, fish and sometimes other goods for Christmas feasts. My sister and I both requested a chicken this year and this is what I had in mind for Christmas Eve.
In addition to the chicken, I had a few ripe mangoes left over from a box I received a couple of weeks ago and some lovely fresh greens purchased at the South Melbourne Market on Monday morning. So I dug out a recipe for a smoked chicken salad that I first discovered a few years ago on the taste.com.au website (a great starting point for almost any kind of recipe you could imagine) and adapted it to suit the ingredients I had.
This is a recipe that is open to a lot of variation—you could add whatever greens you prefer (the original uses iceberg lettuce), choose different smoked meats (duck? salmon? trout?) or even swap out the smoked meat for fresh prawns. It looks great served on a platter, or divided among plates or bowls, and would be just as suitable as an entrée salad as a light main course.
As for this version? It made for a perfectly delicious family dinner on Christmas Eve.
Smoked Chicken and Mango Salad
Adapted from this recipe
Serves 4-61 smoked chicken 2 ripe mangoes mixed greens 1/2 bunch of fresh mint, leaves torn 1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced 1/2 red capsicum/pepper, thinly sliced Dressing: 200ml natural pot set yoghurt 2-3 tbs chopped coriander 2 tbs lime juice 1 tbs sweet chili sauce sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Shred the chicken from the carcass. Cut the cheeks off the mango and slice the flesh thinly. Toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
Finely chop coriander and mix with yoghurt, lime juice and sweet chili sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer salad to a platter and drizzle with some of the dressing. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
1. I’m not a huge fan of raw onions, but spring onions (green onions) or thinly sliced red onions would be a great addition to the salad.
2. Use a combination of different greens—I started with a mixture of lettuces, then added baby spinach, rocket/arugula, a little radicchio and snow pea shoots.
3. To make the dressing in a flash, chop the coriander in a mini-food processor, add the other ingredients and whiz until combined.