Wild Rice, Cranberry, and Roasted Corn Salad with Fried Chicken Medallions
Wild rice, tender roasted kernels of corn, and plump cranberries cooked in a spicy honey lime dressing are tossed with crispy bacon and topped with panko fried chicken medallions and roasted almonds.
Friends. Let me tell you a short but true story about this salad. After serving it to my husband, this is what I heard at dinner for the next several days: "This is good, but not as good as that cranberry corn stuff you made the other day..."
And you know what? He's right. This is one of those dishes that will set the bar a bit higher for everything else you eat after it. The combination of sweet corn, plump cranberries, tender rice, toasted almonds, crispy bacon and fried chicken is downright addicting.
This salad comes with options, as all good salads should.
- Use roast chicken instead of fried chicken. Either throw a chicken in the oven to roast, or pick up a rotisserie chicken at your local supermarket.
- Serve it without chicken. There is a lot going on in this salad even before toping it with a few pieces of chicken. Chicken goes really well with the flavors of this salad, but if you don't want to bother with it, don't.
- Go vegetarian. Meat eaters will appreciate the bacon and chicken, but this salad is absolutely delicious without either.
- Prepare this as a main dish or side dish. This salad is most defiantly going to show up (without the chicken) on our Thanksgiving table this year.
If you just glance at the recipe, you might think that preparing this salad is going to take you the better part of a day. In truth, it's fairly simple to make and will be on the table in about 1 hour - even faster if you opt for topping your salad with Roast Chicken instead of fried, or leave the chicken out entirely.
If you're making this as a part of Summer Meal Plan #5, you should already have some Fried Chicken Medallions and Roasted Corn in your refrigerator, which you prepared earlier in the week for Fried Chicken Sandwiches and Spicy Cranberry Relish with Roasted Corn. This means you can skip step #2 in the recipe for tonight's salad, using approximately 2 ½ cups roasted corn. Reheat the fried chicken medallions in the oven, or a toaster oven, before serving: Heat oven to 425 degrees, lay the chicken on a baking sheet, and bake for 5-10 minutes, until sizzling.
Used in this recipe:
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Weekly Meal Plans that Include wild Rice, Cranberry, and Roasted Corn Salad with Fried Chicken Medallions:Print
For the Wild Rice, Cranberry, and Roasted Corn Salad:
- Salt and pepper (Used throughout the recipe; amounts specified in recipe instructions)
- ¾ cup wild rice
- 12 oz (approximately 2 & ½ cups) corn kernels, frozen or freshly cut from 5-6 ears of corn
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Tajin seasoning (Or, ½ teaspoon chili powder and ½ teaspoon paprika)
- 12 oz thick cut bacon (about 10-12 slices)
- ⅓ cup minced shallots
- ⅓ cup scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced thin
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon ground oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (approximately ¼ teaspoon)
- 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups frozen cranberries
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup roasted almonds, chopped
For the Fried Chicken Medallions (see note):
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 cups panko bread crumbs
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup corn oil
Make the Wild Rice, Cranberry, and Corn Salad:
- Add the rice to a medium size sauce pan along with 1 & ½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and set over medium high heat. When the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and let simmer gently without stirring until the rice is tender, about 15 -30 minutes. (The time will depend on the variety of wild rice.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the rice is cooking, toss the corn, butter, olive oil, and Tajin seasoning together in a bowl. Spread the corn onto a rimmed baking sheet into one even layer. Sprinkle with approximately ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and add it to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crispy, approximately 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate. Pour all but 2 tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pan and discard.
- Put the pan with the reserved 2 tablespoon bacon grease back over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring constantly, just until beginning to brown, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Add the scallions, cumin, oregano, thyme, and cayenne, plus 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer.
- Add the lime juice, honey, and cranberries to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cranberries are soft and breaking apart, approximately 3-4 minutes. Scrape the mixture from the skillet into a large bowl.
- Add the cooked rice, roasted corn, bacon, and chopped cilantro to the bowl with the cranberry mixture and stir gently to combine. Cover and set aside while you prepare the fried chicken.
Make the Fried Chicken Medallions:
- Cut the chicken into pieces that are approximately 2-inches wide. Add the flour to a shallow dish or pie plate and stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Crack the eggs into a separate shallow dish or pie plate, sprinkle in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, and whisk to combine and break up the eggs. Add the panko bread crumbs to another shallow dish or pie plate.
- Set a clean plate nearby. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, rolling it around to coat. Gently shake off excess flour, then dip the chicken into the eggs, coating it completely. Lift the chicken from the eggs and press the chicken into the panko bread crumbs, coating it on all sides. As you coat the chicken with bread crumbs, press it firmly with the palm of your hand to flatten it out and coat with a thick layer of bread crumbs. Lay the chicken medallion onto the clean plate and repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
- Lay several paper towels on a plate and set it close to the stovetop. Pour the corn oil into a large, deep saucepan set over high heat. Heat the oil comes to 375 degrees on a candy or deep fry thermometer.
- Using tongs, add several pieces of chicken to the hot oil; do not overcrowd the pan. As the chicken fries, monitor the oil, adjusting the heat as necessary, so that the oil stays between 325 - 340 degrees. Let the chicken cook on one side until it's a deep golden brown, then turn to the other side. When it is a deep golden brown on all sides, remove one piece of chicken from the hot oil and lay it on the paper towel lined plate. Quickly cut into the piece of chicken to check for doneness. If there is no pink inside the chicken, immediately remove the other pieces from the hot oil to the paper towel lined plate. Total cooking time for the chicken medallions is 3-5 minutes. Repeat with all the chicken medallions until they are all cooked.
- Pile 1 - 1 & ½ cups of the rice, cranberry and corn salad onto the center of each plate. Top with a couple pieces of chicken and sprinkle with a few roasted and chopped almonds.
This salad is also delicious topped with Roasted Chicken instead of Fried Chicken. If Roast Chicken is your preference, follow this recipe to get one roasting before you begin making this salad. Or, simply pick up a rotisserie chicken from your local market.
Keywords: salad, fried chicken salad, rice, cranberries, healthy dinner, salad for dinner, corn salad