Make Ahead

Curried Cranberry Chicken

December 26, 2021
0 Ratings
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I buy cranberries as soon as they're available in the fall, freezing them in 1 cup portions to use all season long, buying another batch after Christmas to have through the spring...there are so many ways to use them, simple to complex. Anyway, I was craving some curried chicken salad one day, and in the process of gathering the ingredients saw my ever-present batch of cranberry sauce in the fridge and wondered if it might be a good addition. Of course it turned out fabulous!. I have a basic Curried chicken salad mix I make and I started with that recipe. I also have a basic Cranberry orange sauce I make, and then keep and remake all holiday and winter for use in a wide variety of dishes and desserts. Use your favorite version of cranberry sauce; I like mine with orange zest and juice, but the canned version or that recipe from the bag of cranberries works as well. I make this Curried chicken for sandwiches, crostini with cream cheese, on a bagel, or even with apple slices and celery sticks! There are so many options for curry powder, and each will add its' spin on the flavor of the chicken. I like the one from for my basic curry powder. I use chicken thighs for this recipe, as they are a moister chicken, but breasts also work well; it is up to you, or what you have on hand! Cranberry sauce can be mixed in with the chicken, or served separately; I mix it in and let all the flavors meld. (I have also done this with apple or mango chutney in place of the cranberry sauce--also very nice). You get the idea--very adaptable to tase preferences. I note there are several curried chicken and chickpea recipes on this site. All of them would lend themselves to using cranberry sauce in place of the chutney or as an addition to the recipe...but here is my version. —judy

What You'll Need
  • Poached chicken
  • 2 chicken thighs or 1 large breast
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or 2 chopped cloves
  • 1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Curried chicken salad
  • poached chicken cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 rib celery, chopped fine; I like the leaves as well if I have them
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (can use powder, or 1-2 cloves free chopped fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar (I prefer juice)
  • 1/2-3/4 cups mayonnaise of choice
  • Bread of choice
  1. Remove excess fat from chicken, cut larger pieces into three -four smaller ones to make overall sized about equal.
  2. Place garlic, salt curry powder and chopped onion into 2 quart (or so) sauce pan, bring up heat and heat through, blending together
  3. Add 1/2 cup water and mix to disperse spices and onion throughout. Add in chicken pieces, turning so that they are coated with some of the spices on all sides. Water should NOT cover chicken, just enough to be about 1/2 submerged.
  4. cover pot and bring to simmer, simmering chicken about 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. While chicken is poaching and cooling, make sauce for chicken: In a medium bowl combine salt, curry powder, garlic, celery seed, and lemon juice. Make a thick paste. May need to add a little more lemon juice if spices are still dry. Goal is to get spices blooming but not to be a slurry. Set aside until ready to assemble all the ingredients.
  6. When chicken cooked through, remove from stove, and remove chicken from liquid to separate bowl, cool. (Reserve liquid for something else--or even to make a nice cup of hot broth. So tasty!) When chicken is cooled cut into bite-sized pieces 1/4-1/2 inch in size. They will be irregular, and this is fine. I use kitchen shears rather than a knife, as I find this easier with my arthritic hands and weak arms.
  7. Add to the curry paste the mayonnaise and mix well. Then add in chicken, chopped celery, and if wanting to add in, the cranberry sauce. Stir together. Then allow to rest in refrigerator for awhile--half an hour to the next day. This keeps for a couple of days in the fridge.
  8. When ready, make sandwich; add the cranberry sauce if not mixed in already. Or crostini, or use as dip for apples and celery, or crackers or you get the idea. A slice of cheese or some cream cheese or goat cheese spread on bread is also a delightful addition.

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