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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Apricot Chicken Sandwiches

The summer heat makes me lazy. 

I'm not complaining.  Summer is supposed to be hot, and I love it. 

But I don't like spending a lot of time in my kitchen when the weather is beautiful.  I'd rather spend time outdoors, and only head into the kitchen to throw together the quickest dinner possible.

You may remember the tarragon chicken salad and the chicken caesar salad where I proclaimed my love of the convenience of preparing meals with store-bought rotisserie chickens. 

I'd like to say that purchasing a rotisserie chicken is a weekly habit in the summer heat. But there's the cashier at B.J.'s who asked me on Tuesday, "Weren't you here yesterday?" who would spill the beans about my sometimes-twice-weekly cooking shortcut.

The rotisserie chickens at B.J.'s are $4.99 every day.  It's just too easy when I'm out and about to stop in and quickly pick up a chicken.  Well, maybe not so quickly.  They are all the way in the back of the store.  And it's a big store. 

And then there's this. My impulse purchase from Tuesday. 

Impulse purchases can be dangerous, but they are especially dangerous at B.J.'s.  At a regular supermarket, an impulse purchase might set you back a couple of dollars.  At B.J.'s, with their warehouse-sized packages, those impulse purchases can defeat the purpose of going there to save a couple of dollars on a chicken.

I swear I had my shopping blinders on, I was focused on getting the chicken and getting out of the store.  I went all the way to the back of the store, got the chicken, and I was about halfway to the front of the store and there was this huge display of these cases of wine coolers and it just stopped me in my tracks.

Maybe it was the pretty colors, maybe it was the catchy names--who can refuse a drink named "Jamaican Me Happy?"--but I just had to buy a case.  (For the record, "Jamaican Me Happy" was very good.  And "Lime Melonade" ain't too shabby, either.)

Anyway, back to the chicken.  I like to pull the meat off of it when I get home because 1). maybe it's just me, but I think the meat is easier to remove while it's still warm and 2). taking the meat off the chicken in advance saves time later down the road when you're preparing your meal.  Not that I think it really saves time to prep in advance, it's just that it's nice to have it done in advance, sort of like ironing your clothes before you hang them in your closet so that they're already ironed when you go to wear them, as opposed to getting dressed and then realizing that the clothes you want to wear aren't ironed and you wished that you had ironed them already because you're in too much of a hurry to want to iron them now.  Bad analogy, I know.  I'll just stop and get right to the recipe.

But first I'll give you the playlist.  It's a bit shorter than it usually is, because if you've (ahem) prepped your chicken in advance, these sandwiches are very quick to prepare!

Today's Playlist
  • "Botch-A-Me".......Rosemary Clooney
  • "Mack the Knife"......Bobby Darin
  • "I've Got You Under My Skin".......Frank Sinatra
  • "Smile"......Nat King Cole
  • "Don't Say Forever (O Sole Mio).....Lou Monte
Apricot Chicken Sandwiches
  • 1/2 cup Apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • cold meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped, about 3 cups
  • 4 cups shredded crunchy veggies (broccoli slaw or coleslaw mix)
  • 6 torpedo rolls
  • butter, to toast the rolls

Gather all of your ingredients.

Mix the apricot jam, chives, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to make the dressing.

Melt a little bit of butter in a medium saute pan.

Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan.......

.......and one by one, lightly toast your rolls.  You don't have to overdo it, you just want to toast the inside of the rolls enough so that they will stand up to the dressing.  It's nice to keep the outside of the rolls soft.

The chicken will not be dripping in dressing, but if you don't toast the inside of the rolls, the bread could get mushy from the moisture of the dressing.

Chop the chicken, and place it in a large bowl.

Add the shredded veggies.  I am using broccoli slaw, which is a mixture of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and red cabbage.

Pour in the apricot dressing.  It sort of tastes like duck sauce, but not so sweet.  I love using the chives from my herb garden.  Isn't summer awesome?

Mix it all up.

Take the stack of rolls which you've already toasted............

And pile the chicken and veggies into the rolls.


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