Sing with me now, “Alouette, Chicky Alouette, Alouette Chicky Alouette!” I seriously sing this little ditty in the kitchen every time I make this dish…and find myself amusing each time I sing. My family is so used to my kitchen-show-choir antics that they barely even notice anymore. Oh yes, and if you are wondering, I do jazz squares and starburst hands along with most of my songs. (All former show choir people are giggling along with me; the rest of you are wondering what starburst hands are.)
Thanks to my friend Rhoda (who highlighted this dish not once but twice on her blog) you ladies are loving my recipe for Chicken Alouette! Barely a day will go by without another email from one of you raving over the simplicity and utter deliciousness of this dish. I told you it was good.
If you’re looking for the recipe, it can be found here . If you’re looking for the perfect salad to serve with it, keep reading.
We leave soon for Virginia to celebrate Christmas with family, so tonight I decided to make a special family dinner for just the four of us.
Pomegranate salad is a perfect compliment to the chicken and it just happens to be my all-time favorite winter salad. It is comprised of romaine lettuce (or spinach or whatever you like), feta cheese, and pomegranate seeds. Pomegranates are in season this time of year and can easily be found at your local grocery store. Don’t be scared of them. They are delicious and easy to open. Most grocery stores will even have a leaflet explaining how to cut the pomegranate. If you’ve never had one, they taste tart and sweet, sort of like a sweetened cranberry. Many wonder if it’s okay to actually eat the seeds. Yes. I haven’t died yet :). It’s a matter of preference, but in a crunchy salad I think they work perfectly.
Isn’t it pretty?
The secret to making people think you are simply the most amazing cook alive is to make this easy yet fantastic salad dressing. I’m not going to be able to give you exact measurements because I just dump, stir and taste. I will, however, try to give you some guidelines.
In a small jar or salad dressing shaker mix equal parts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (I love Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinegar. The Progresso stuff pictured below is sub-par. Don’t buy it.) Add about a tablespoon of poppy seeds and a tablespoon of sesame seeds. If you really want to impress your guests, pre-toast your sesame seeds. It adds a lot of fantastic flavor. Okay, now here is the most important step and the secret to the deliciousness….don’t hold back on the sugar. Depending on the amount of dressing you are making, it is not unheard of to put 1/2-3/4 C of sugar in your dressing. Trust me on this one. Keep adding sugar and tasting the dressing. Dip a leaf in and see if it tastes a bit like a candy-coated leaf. If it does, you’re on the right track. I know what some of you pious healthy types are thinking, oh no, it doesn’t need all that much sugar. Well, maybe not, but all I know is that I have served this salad dressing to tons of pious healthy types and they’ve gobbled it down and had seconds and practically liked the dressing from the plate. Yes, it is that good.
Before I sign off, I’ll address a few more questions I seem to be getting regarding the chicken. Many of you are having trouble with your garnishes. When you are wrapping up your little chicken bundles be sure to pull off any extra dough from the bottom of the bundle. I roll out all my extra dough and then either with a cookie cutter, or with a knife I make my garnish. Another important step to remember is to brush your dough with egg white before baking. Many of you have written that your dough looks ugly and anemic. The egg white is what gives the dough a nice golden brown.
One last tip on this recipe: You don’t have to buy expensive alouette cheese to make it. Tonight I used half a block of cream cheese, fresh chopped basil, and half a packet of spinach dip mix. It turned out great. Sometimes I’ll mix orange rind, golden raisins, currants, and spices into my cream cheese for an altogether different tasting dish. Use your creativity with your cream cheese but do yourself a favor and make this dish if you haven’t already. It’s so simple, impressive, and most importantly yummy. Enjoy!