I was a doubter all the way. I had picked this recipe for chicken, potato, and chipotle salad because I just happened to have all the ingredients ready to go. But things kept bugging me and I worried that the salad would just taste like bland poached chicken heaped on a messy salad. Of course, I should have just shut up and gone with the flow. It was a recipe by Rick Bayless, my favorite cookbook author, for goodness sake. I should know that I can trust him.
And when everything was combined and plated, I realized I had absolutely no reason to worry. Each ingredient is treated with utmost respect. The chicken is gently poached so it comes out tender and juicy, and since the dressing gets time to marry with the most of the ingredients, each bite is flavorful, smoky, and just slightly spicy.
Surprisingly, even with all the flavor of the chilies, my favorite part of the salad was the potatoes. Although they are simply boiled, the carrots they are boiled with lend their sweetness. Each bite is a revelation. I'll never doubt Bayless again.
- 1 chicken leg and thigh, or 1 breast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 small waxy potatoes, halved
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 chipotles en adobo, chopped
- 1/2 onion, half diced and half thinly sliced
- 1/2 head of lettuce (green leaf, romaine or bibb), washed and chopped
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the chicken and half of the salt and reduce the heat to medium. If you're using dark meat cook for 23 minutes; white meat only needs 13. When done remove the meat and when cool enough to handle shred with your fingers or two forks. Toss in a bowl.
In another medium pot, add the potatoes, carrots, and a pinch of salt. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 12 minutes. Drain and run the potatoes and carrots under cold water until cool. Chop into half inch pieces. Toss in the bowl with the chicken.
Take 3 tablespoons of the liquid that the chicken cooked in and pour it over the chicken and potato mixture. Add to that the vinegar, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, onion, and the chipotles. Stir well and set aside for 15 minutes or so.
Add the lettuce to a large bowl. Drizzle the oil on top of the leaves. Add the chicken mixture and the chopped avocado. Season with salt if necessary. Garnish with the thinly sliced onion.