There are quite a few things happening here, and I am not too sure how to process it all. First, I am still on a high from the delicious success of this off the cuff recipe. But probably more unsettling is that I am confused, happy, and a tad uncomfortable with how much I ended up liking celery after years of shunning the vegetable.
This recipe idea came about for two main reasons: I bought a pack of celery stalks with the hopes of beginning the journey to acquire the taste for it; and secondly I had just roasted a whole chicken and wanted to repurpose it and create a fun recipe. The end result? A chicken, chickpea and celery salad, with a refreshingly zesty lemon vinaigrette.
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 14oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups of cooked chicken breast chunks (or your fave part)
- Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)
- Zest of one lemon (about ½ tsp)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
(See my note on zesting a lemon in a previous post).
- Add butter to a skillet over medium heat and sautee chicken chunks until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Season chickpeas with salt, pepper and cumin.
- In the meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
- Combine sauteed chicken breast, celery and seasoned chickpeas in a mixing bowl. Pour vinaigrette and fold to combine.
- Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least one hour.
- Serve chilled.
- I deboned a chicken breast from the Chinese five spice whole roasted chicken I made earlier that day. Any roasted chicken will do, and you can even use poached chicken breast or your favourite part.
- I reheated the chicken breast by sautéing the chunks in a tsp of butter. This allows the chicken to be rehydrated and makes the dish a little heartier.
- Because they tend to be bland, it’s best to season the chickpeas before combining with the rest of the ingredients. You can use regular S&P or some seasoning salt to give it an extra kick. I added cumin for another depth of flavour.
- Allow the dish to sit at least an hour in the fridge after adding the lemon vinaigrette. The ingredients will have time to soak up that lemony goodness and the flavours will come together better.
I must admit, for someone who was warming up their tastebuds to the aggressive and sharp bite of celery this was a pretty daring move diving head on into a dish with raw celery as a main component. Cooked celery isn’t as strong.
The beauty of the palate is that it’s constantly changing and adapting to new tastes. But sometimes we grow so comfortable in the usual fare that we refuse our palates the right to grow and explore a much bigger, more exciting world of taste. Don’t be that guy.