Ottoman chicken salad with apricots, shallots & almonds

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One of the favourite dinners in this house is a little old ottoman dish called mahmudiye that I found a recipe for in Rebecca Seal’s Istanbul.

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It’s subtle and delicately sweet, and just delicious served with a sharp green salad. I normally make the dish with chicken thighs, butter and orzo, but attempted a slightly more virtuous version tonight.

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I transformed the dish into a salad… And the flavours were exactly the same! Win. Cleaner eating couldn’t be easier. The sharpness of the lemon dressing is important as a contrast to the sweetly spiced beans and saffron chicken. Loving saffron at the moment.

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You will need:

2 corn fed free range chicken breasts
Pinch of saffron dissolved in 1 tbspn boiling water
1 tbspn honey
200g green beans
10 small shallots, peeled and left while
70g dried apricots, soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
1 tspn freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
50g almonds, toasted
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube dissolved in 200ml boiling water
1 little gem lettuce, chopped
2 handfuls salad leaves
1 tbspn extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to fry
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, pepper

Method:

1 – Start by preparing the chicken; steam the fillets until just cooked through then tear into pieces as soon as they’re cool enough to handle
2 – Mix together the honey and saffron with a little salt and pepper; toss the chicken in this mix and leave to marinade for at least 1 hour to infuse the flavours and colours
3 – Meanwhile heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the shallots; cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until browned and starting to soften
4 – Add a little salt, the tspn of pepper, the cinnamon, half the lemon juice and the drained apricots to the pan, cook for a few minutes and then add the beans and stock
5 – Simmer until the beans are cooked and the stock completely reduced; remove from the heat and stir in most of the almonds
6 – Leave the beans and shallots to cool while you mix together the remaining lemon juice with the 1 tbspn of olive oil; use this to dress the leaves
7 – Toss the cooled beans and shallots into the dressed salad leaves, then stir in the chicken; serve with the reserved almonds on to

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