Even though the Waldorf Astoria is only a mere forty-five minutes away from my home, I have never had the privilege of making a visit, or even passing by it for that matter. Their Sunday brunch is legendary and they have introduced iconic dishes such as Waldorf Salad to the world.
The Waldorf salad is a classic and was first served in the 1800’s.
But classics can be remade…right? Well, California Walnuts is looking for an updated version of the iconic salad. Here’s a cooking contest I am excited to give a try. The winner receives not only a hefty cash prize but is also awarded a two night stay at the Waldorf Astoria, complete with Sunday Brunch for two. Not only that, but the winning recipe will appear on the brunch menu for a period of time. What an honor.
So, here’s my entry. It’s kind of on the humble side, but I must admit that we really enjoyed it, and it has found a home on our family’s dinner menu!
Chicken Roulade with Waldorf Quinoa
5 small/medium sized boneless, skinless, chicken breast
1/2 cup tri-color quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup very finely crushed toasted walnuts
2/3 cup seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely minced apple, skin on, Pink Lady or Crips Pink variety
3/4 cup very thinly sliced celery ribs
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, sweetened, divided
5 oz. container baby spinach leaves, divided
1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly spray a 9″x13″ glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Place the rinsed quinoa into a pan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 12-14 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit, covered, for five minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Finely chop one packed cup spinach leaves. Stir into the quinoa.
Place the thinly sliced celery ribs, shallots, olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of garlic salt. black pepper, rosemary, and sage into a saute pan. Saute for 4 minutes. Add in the minced apple. Cook for an additional two minutes. Stir the sauteed mixture and 1/3 cup cherries into the quinoa.
Remove any extraneous fat from the chicken breasts. Create a pocket in each piece of chicken by creating a 1″ wide slice on the end of the chicken. Gently widen the pocket inside the chicken without breaking through the meat. The pocket should run nearly the length of the chicken breast. Set aside.
Evenly distribute the quinoa mixture among the chicken breasts. Use a small measuring spoon or your fingers, fill each pocket.
Crush the toasted walnuts until a very fine crumb consistency is reached. Mix the walnuts in with the Panko breadcrumbs and remaining garlic salt.
Generously brush all sides of the chicken with mayonnaise and immediately roll in the walnut/Panko mixture until well coated.
Place the chicken breasts into the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 35 minutes. Allow to sit on the stove top for five minutes before slicing into 1/4-1/2″ thick slices.
Scatter spinach leaves onto five plates. Place one sliced chicken breast on top. Scatter each with the remaining dried cherries.