There’s something about unusual combinations of food that is so exciting. Sometimes you’ll get it wrong, but sometimes you’ll nail it. It really made me consider the flavours of food that people have been pairing for centuries – coffee and chocolate; beef and red wine; pastry and cream; apricots and chicken ….
Some of the best pairings have been accidental. At the World’s Fair in 1904 the ice cream cone was born, simply because the ice cream stall was doing so well they ran out of plates. The neighbouring stall holder who sold waffles was not fairing as well and together they had the idea of rolling up waffles to hold ice cream, and voila … that’s how ice cream cones came to be!
My accidental Sherry-Baked Chicken with Wild Rice and Sprout Salad isn’t as ground breaking as the invention of ice cream cones. I just had some sherry-baked chicken in the oven because I adore it and I’d wanted to make this salad for weeks. Turned out to be a beautiful pairing, so – my message - working with what you have can often produce something beautiful!
1 x whole chicken cut into pieces
2 x large onions
1 cup sherry
1 tsp. salt
Wild Rice and Brussels Sprouts Salad
10 medium-sized Brussels sprouts
1 cup of cooked wild rice
1 handful of Alfalfa sprouts
1 handful of bean sprouts
1 handful of mung beans
½ a bunch of mint leaves
½ cup of dried cranberries
Juice of one lemon
Splash of sherry vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. of maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan-forced. Finely chop the onions and place them in a bowl with the sherry and salt and give them a mix. Place the chicken pieces in a deep baking tray lined with baking paper. Pour the onion and sherry mixture over the top and place in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. Depending on how golden you want the chicken.
While the chicken is cooking, you can make the salad. Cook the wild rice according to the packets instructions. Take the Brussels sprouts, remove any browned outer layers, and then thinly slice them. In a bowl add all the sprouts, mung beans, mint leaves, dried cranberries and the wild rice once it has been cooled to room temperature. Set aside. To make the dressing add all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together until the dressing becomes slightly aerated and has fully combined. Set aside.
When the chicken has cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes in the baking tray. While it’s resting you can dress the salad. Use your hands so the dressing coats everything and the salad is evenly mixed. Serve and enjoy.