AFTER ROASTING A CHICKEN AND EATING IT for a couple of days, I decided to pick off the rest of the meat for a chicken salad. I knew I wanted fruit in it--maybe apples or grapes or both, neither of which I had on hand. Then I spotted the bowl of Clementines and thought, sure, why not.
I decided to add celery and scallions, and I knew I had some pecan halves leftover from Christmas baking. I also thought I would add some blue cheese and further thought I had some in the fridge, only to discover a little mouse (my husband) had eaten it. I did find a chunk of smoked Gouda so I used that.
After I got the ingredients together and dressed, I was stirring it and thinking how dull and colorless it looked. I was thinking, if I had some dried cranberries, I would add some for color as well as flavor. Then I remembered I had some homemade whole cranberry sauce in the refrigerator. Lovely. Perfect.
For serving, I garnished with additional tangerine sections and a dollop of cranberry sauce.
Mandarin Chicken Salad with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup roasted pecan halves
2 Clementines/tangerines/cuties/satsumas (whatever the grower calls them, they are all Mandarin oranges) peeled, sectioned, and halved
3 oz. smoked Gouda, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup fresh whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup mayo
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar or honey
1 clove garlic, minced
Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and chill while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Stir together the shredded chicken, celery slices, scallion slices, pecans, tangerines, cheese, and cranberry sauce. Pour over the chilled dressing and toss until evenly distributed. Chill before serving.