Last Tuesday, I hosted my fourth annual Mini-Thanksgiving. It happens the Tuesday before the real deal Turkey Day. I invite the entire team from my day job and their significant others to my home to eat, drink and be merry together. Because let’s be honest. One Thanksgiving meal simply isn’t enough. And your work buddies are much more fun outside of the office.
I spent Monday night arranging seating for 20 in my under-a-thousand square foot main level. In between setting out tea lights and putting greenery in vases, I pan roasted fennel and simmered sliced Yukon Golds in cream for scalloped potatoes. Jay roasted cashews, pecans and almonds to make spiced nuts. And we boiled and mashed more taters to create the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten (cream cheese = clutch ingredient). And while I grate and stir, I hope that organic cream, butter and cheese counteract the processed Velveeta in this macaroni and cheese. My generous co-workers show up with just about every other side dish you can imagine plus bottles and bottles and bottles of wine.
But there’s one classic that’s always missing from Mini-Thanksgiving. It’s the turkey.
That’s because on the very first Mini-Thanksgiving, we ditched the labor and time intensive bird for a much more convenient option: the rotisserie chicken.
It’s a tradition that stuck.
It never fails that I have at least one leftover chicken in the fridge following the festivities. And when I’m ready something besides those rich sage-thyme-potato-stuffing-squash flavors that dominate the Thanksgiving table, I make this Curried Mango Chicken Salad.
A version of the recipe was actually introduced to me by a regular guest at my day job who’s also become a dear friend. Laurie Crowell owns Golden Fig Fine Foods in St. Paul, Minn. It’s a glorious place packed with local foods and goodies. She constantly inspires me with her passion for real food and her perfect flavor combinations. She used leftover turkey in her rendition. Feel free to do the same.
I start by chopping green apple and celery.
Pile some cooked chicken or turkey in the bowl.
Add mango chutney, mayonnaise, chopped almonds and parsley.
Stir in some hot curry powder for some kick and you are good to go.
You can pile it on a bun with some crunchy lettuce, or do as this carb-overloaded lady does and eat it by the forkful straight out of the bowl.
And here’s the most amazing thing.
My handsome boyfriend Jay, who happily and hungrily chows down everything I make, just can’t stand two things: curries and chutneys. But for some reason that is unbeknownst to both of us, he absolutely loves this salad. Don’t try to figure it out, just make it for both the curry-chutney lovers AND haters in your life.
Curried Mango Chicken Salad
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small green apple, cored and chopped
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup mango chutney
1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
1 tbsp hot curry powder
salt and pepper
Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on buns or bread as sandwiches, piled onto crackers as an appetizer or straight out of a bowl.