Tuesday, 19 June 2007

A Couple of American Main Course Salads

It’s that time of year again, and the salads are coming out again! Not that I don’t make salad year round, but I have a selection that although they are not Summer salads per se I only make them at this time of year so they are Summer salads to me at least.

These are my entry for an event called Salad Stravaganza! I had decided that my salads would come from Sheila Lukins fabulous U.S.A. Cookbook. A book that was published in 1997, I found it in a book shop in 1999 and have been charmed by it ever since. My favourite potato salad comes from this book – but more about that in another post. I managed to whittle down my choice of entry to two salads, but at the end of the day I couldn’t choose – they are too different – so here they both are.

Cowboy Rice Salad and Apricot, Ham and Cheese Salad. I don’t think there is any similarity to be drawn between them (except that they are in the same cook book!), but the diversity involved in all the different salads that can be made is not a small part of their charm. Now although they are not traditional diet salads they are both filling and I don’t need dessert after them – and believe my I have a raging sweet tooth!

Cowboy Rice Salad
Now, you’d probably guess based on rice, but once it’s made it’s all the add ins that leap out at you. Green beans, broad (lima) beans, kidney beans, chicken sausage and herbs and subtle spicing of the rice are great on their own, but the Luscious Lime Dressing makes it all sing together so well. I’ve played around with it a bit. Omitted sugar snap peas and used French green beans instead, and upped the chilli powder from ¼ teaspoon to ½ and also upped the turmeric powder from 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon. This is still essentially Sheila’s recipe if you’d like to make her recipe exactly just change the quantities in the recipe below to the above.

Cowboy Rice Salad

½ pound green beans
1 small onion cut into ¼ inch dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup long grain white rice (I used Basmati)
½ teaspoon chilli powder (I used Mild)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
half a cinnamon stick
3 ½ cups (28 fl oz) chicken stock
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
½ cup diced red bell pepper (1/4 inch dice)
¾ cup cooked baby lima beans (broad beans it’s prettier if you skin them, but I don’t always)
¾ cup cooked red kidney beans
¼ lb cooked shredded chicken breast
1 small spicy smoked sausage, sliced ( I use a couple of Kabanos sausages)
2 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) or parsley
½ cup Luscious Lime Dressing (recipe follows)

Bring a pot of water to the boil, add green beans and cook to still be a little al dente, but still crisp and green 4 mins or so. Refresh under cold water and set aside.
Place the onion and live oil in a heavy saucepan. Cook stirring until the onion is wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice, chilli powder, turmeric and cinnamon stick. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. The rice should be cooked and the stock absorbed.
Fluff the rice with a fork and add the rest of the ingredients. Check seasonings and serve in a pretty bowl.

Luscious Lime Dressing

¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon runny honey
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and pepper
½ cup olive oil

Place the juice, honey, zest, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk together.
Slowly drizzle in the oil and whisk until combined. Makes ¾ cup – so you will have some leftover.

Apricot Ham and Cheese Salad

This is a quickly assembled salad that is tasty and yummy. One to remember if you have leftover baked ham! I haven’t changed any ingredients but have altered the method slightly to give less washing up. Also Sheila gives size of dice, but I don’t think it matters that much here. I’ve made it with sour cream and low fat yoghurt, and they both taste good. The sour cream gives a smooth mouth feel and the yoghurt doesn’t which makes a lighter dressing. I served this with some Jersey Royal potatoes tossed in a small amount of butter.

Thanks to Lisa and Kelly for hosting this Stravaganza.

Apricot Ham and Cheese Salad

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream or low fat yoghurt
1 ½ tablespoons apricot jam (preserves)
1 ½ tablespoons honey mustard (I use 1 tablespoon honey and ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard)

6 oz Gruyere cheese, diced or shaved
1 pound baked ham, shredded or chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped or sliced
2 spring onions (scallions) 3 inches of green left on and sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced or diced
½ cup plump dried apricots, halved
2 tablespoond chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl.
Add everything else to the bowl and toss to combine. Check for seasoning and serve.


Amanda at Little Foodies said...

These look really great! I can't wait for your favourite potato salad recipe. My favourite is with salad cream & mayonnaise & sometimes chives.

Kirsten said...

Those all look delicious - waayyy better than plain greens, although I like that too. :)


Peabody said...

The ham salad sounds really interesting to me. Good entry.

Lydia said...

Love the sound of that lime dressing. At this time of year, I love to add fruit to green salads (white nectarines are a particular favorite), and having a fruit-based vinaigrette really works well.

lynn said...

They both look wonderful. I, too, would have hard time choosing between them.

Kristen said...

What a great selection of salads. That cowboy salad...oh my!

Nora B. said...

Hi Kelly-Jane,
I don't tend to make salads as much in winter, but your cowboy rice salad is something I can see myself eating all-year round & I like the sound of the name! Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Cowboy Rice Salad - what a great name for a dish! And it sounds pretty darn tasty too. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Sandy said...

Hi Kelly-Jane,
Your salads look really scrumptous. I love the combinations. You've made me hungry. :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That's just an old great standby of a book! Love the Cowboy salad haven't tried the other.

Pat said...

Hi and thanks for commenting on my blog. I see you have a love of cook books too!! Your salads sound really yummy!!! I can't wait to read the rest of your blog and try some of your recipes too.

Lis said...

Two very excellent sounding salads, Kelly-Jane - thank you so much =))

Wow I don't know which to start with! They both sound sooooo good. :D

I look forward to trying these, both will be delicious dinners one day this summer!


Shaun said...

Kelly-Jane - I am not the biggest fan of apricots, but I would happily eat them in your divine ham and cheese salad. Not only does it look beautiful, it looks substantial. I should look into making Winter salads at lunchtime instead of soup, soup, and more soup. You have inspired me!

Kelly-Jane said...

Thank you :)I'm sorry I'm not replying individually
for this one, I'm teetering on the brink of a migrane and don't want to push it too far :o/ but I couldn't not say anything atall...

The Cowboy salad I am sure I tried originally for the name, but it works both ways - now when I think I'd like to make it I can remember which book it's in!!

Ham and apricots are a great combo, but I do like fruit in any course at dinner - even dessert ha ha!