There are probably droves of you out there eating nothing but raw vegetables and steamed fish to start the year on a lean note. Nothing like early January to inspire healthy eating. But I can’t. You spend over a week thinking about, preparing and eating delicious things. More if you count the weeks of pre-Christmas planning, which I certainly do. And after all that, you are supposed to settle down to a life of lettuce, carrots and water. Pah, I say. Pah.
So I made mac and cheese.
Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment. I am sure the fault was all mine, and not the recipe’s, but what came out was a too-stiff sauce that had far more cheese than I could taste. A bit bland, a bit funny-textured. It was cheese, and it was pasta, so it was good enough, but not the decadent treat I had hoped for.
I fared a lot better with a healthy dish made from left-over roast chicken.
We brought over four chickens for Christmas dinner at the man’s parents’ house, cooked three and managed to eat not even two. We gave a whole roasted bird to my grandparents, but even after that there was room for left-over experiments. After two days of food planning and preparation, I was feeling a little uninspired, so I turned to Nigella.
She didn’t disappoint. There is an entire section on Christmas left-overs in Feast, and this Belgian endive salad with chicken and pomegranate seeds called to me. It is so pretty, with the red seeds sparkling away on a white background. It tastes excellent too. There is lots of crunch, the slight bitterness of the endive is complemented by the sweet pomegranate seeds and the chicken and pine nuts add lusciousness. With a bright dressing and little pops of flavor from green olives, it doesn’t taste like recycled food at all.
Belgian endive salad with chicken and pomegranate
Adapted slightly from Feast, Nigella Lawson
Left-over roast chicken
3 heads of Belgian endive
Seeds from 2/3 pomegranate
About ten green olives, sliced
3 tbsp of pine nuts, toasted
Shred the chicken, getting rid of any unsightly bits. Strip away damaged leaves from the Belgian endive, half the heads lengthwise and remove hard inner core. Slice into narrow ribbons.
Mix the olive oil with lemon juice to taste into a dressing. Squeeze the remaining part of the pomegranate over the dressing to add some of its ruby juices.
Arrange the Belgian endive on individual plates in a single layer. Add the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with dressing and push around a bit so the dressing has touched most of the vegetables and meat. Scatter olive slices and pine nuts over both plates. Finish with the glittering pomegranate seeds.