Saturday, September 13, 2014

Two Chicken Tarragon Salads with Wild Rice and Dorset, Mn

The town of Dorset, Minnesota is located six miles northeast of Park Rapids and six miles west of Nevis in northern Minnesota. Dorset is a century old town with a population of 22 depending on who you talk to. Perhaps you have heard of this town that until this past August could boast having the youngest politician with its mayor, Robert Tufts, 5 years old. Any residency or age candidate is accepted. The only requirement is filling in a vote sheet and attaching $1.00. A new name is drawn every August. 
Not only did the town have the youngest mayor, but it also calls itself "Restaurant Capital of the World" because it allegedly has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else. These restaurants are all located right down both sides of main street which is one block long.
Two of Dorset's big events are in June their annual Festival of Authors and Artists sponsored by nearby Sister Wolf Bookstore, and in August Taste of Dorset where thousands of people gather for food, games and socializing. 
On September 4 early in the morning, severe storms rolled through the area. The town of Dorset lost its heart and soul when a devastating fire wiped out many buildings including the popular Mexican Companeros and Dorset House restaurants. The Dorset House was legendary for its homemade pies and ice cream. The historic building was over 150 years old. In picture below it was located to the left of the Mexican Companeros Restaurant (yellow building). Lightening may have been the cause of the fire.  It was very dark and cloudy day when I took these pictures so not as clear as I had hoped they would be. 

Many of the buildings that were lost were attached by a boardwalk and some suffered extensive smoke damage. It has not been determined if and when there will be rebuilding. Such a loss for the community.  
Lunch or Supper Entrees
Tarragon Chicken and Wild Rice Salad with Raspberries

Cook's Notes: Advance time saving planning;make wild rice the day before and refrigerate. Use a rotisserie chicken. Serves 4
  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 4- 1/2 cups water
  • 6 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 3 cups diced carrots (about 6 medium)
  • 2 cups sliced celery (about 4 medium stalks)
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 TB. parsley flakes
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle raspberry vinaigrette dressing or make your own (you will need about 3/4 cup for the recipe)
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • mixed greens
  • Rinse rice with cold water. Cook rice in water as directed on package. Drain; rinse with cold water. (Cook rice about 55 minutes) 
  • In large bowl, combine rice and all remaining ingredients except raspberries and dressing; toss to combine. Cover; refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill.
  • Optional serving ideas; Toss all ingredients with mixed greens and serve in a large bowl or for individual servings use Bibb lettuce and place wild rice salad mixture on top of lettuce.     
  • Just before serving, toss salad with dressing, sprinkle raspberries on top. Serve with cantaloupe slices.
Lunds and Byerly's Chicken Wild Rice Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Cook's Notes: Lunds and Byerly's is an upscale grocery store with several locations in the Twin Cities area. The deli offerings are amazing. One of my favorite salads to order is the salad pictured above.  I was quite excited and surprised to find the recipe posted online. 

Wild Rice has a nutty flavor and hearty texture. This salad offers several options. Just in time for fall flavors try adding in cubed cooked butternut squash and dried cranberries substituting for red grapes. Mushrooms can be substituted for water chestnuts. But its the creamy tarragon dressing that is the star of the show. The salad should be made several hours ahead for flavors to meld. 

Serves 4
  •  2/3 cup lite mayonnaise or lite Miracle Whip
  • 1/3 cup 2 % milk 
  • 2 TB. lemon juice 
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. dried tarragon, crumbled 
  • 3 cups cooked, cubed chicken 
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice 
  • 1/3 cup finely sliced green onion 
  • 1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and diced 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper 
  • 1/2 pound seedless red grapes, halved (1 cup) 
  • 1 cup salted cashews 
  • In small bowl, blend mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice and tarragon; set aside. 
  • In large bowl, combine chicken, wild rice, green onion, water chestnuts, salt and pepper. Stir in mayonnaise mixture until blended. Refrigerate, covered.
  • Just before serving, fold in grapes and cashews. 
One cup uncooked wild rice equals 3-4 cups cooked.

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