- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 4, 2005

We made it. Through the holidays, that is. Not to sound like a glass-half-empty person, but aren’t you glad it’s the start of a new year and things can get back to normal?

Yes, dinner still has to be prepared, but at least it’s simpler and leaner. Nothing fits that bill like a juicy roasted chicken from the supermarket.

Rotisserie chickens are our mother’s can of tuna. They fold into just about any casserole or salad you have in mind, and they’re delicious on their own, too.

The recipe I share is for slicing that chicken and serving a tangy fresh salsa alongside. Vary the salsa by adding yellow watermelon, if you can find it. Or use mango instead of strawberries. To round out the meal, add roasted sweet potatoes, pasta, rice salad or grits for some simple and good eating.

Five time-shaving tips using a supermarket roasted chicken:

• One chicken serves four to six people. Buy two chickens for leftovers.

• A cooked chicken will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. To store longer, remove the meat from the bones and stash it in heavy-duty resealable bags in the freezer for a month.

• For ease, remove the meat from the bone, shred it into pieces with your fingers and freeze it in cup-size portions in heavy-duty resealable bags.

• For fast, low-cost chicken broth, place the chicken bones in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add half an onion, a rib of celery, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. For fuller flavor, dissolve one chicken bouillon cube in the simmering broth. Strain the broth, package in plastic containers, and freeze until needed.

• Slice and serve the chicken with the salsa that follows or your favorite pesto or tapenade from the supermarket.

Rotisserie chicken with fire-and-ice salsa

The preparation time is 7 to 8 minutes.

1 cup chopped seeded watermelon

1 cup chopped strawberries

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno chili

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar, optional

1 3- to 4-pound store-bought rotisserie chicken

Place watermelon, strawberries, onion, jalapeno and mint in a medium-size glass bowl. Stir to combine.

Pour olive oil and lime juice over salsa and sprinkle sugar, if using, on top.

Stir gently to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time. The salsa can be made up to 1 day in advance.

Slice chicken into serving pieces and spoon some salsa alongside. Serve more salsa at the table. Makes 4 servings.

Share favorite cooking tips, ask questions and access Anne Byrn’s free online newsletter at www.dinnerdoc.com.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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