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Williams Sonoma Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad

This recipe is originally from the Williams Sonoma catalog. This is old school, when the catalog was 5 x 7 and not the slick production that it is now.

I have always been a huge fan. When I saw this recipe, it just looked so good and sounded amazing. After a few days of discussion (my mother is not overly fond of trying new recipes, especially when they require ingredients that may be expensive/hard to find/never used for anything else ever again). This one only had a few oddball ingredients, so she gave in pretty easily.

The results were AMAZING! This salad has become a true favorite in our house. It is just the right balance of ingredients. Just enough chicken, just enough cheese, just enough lettuce. It just has everything.

Over the years, I have streamlined the process and have made the preparation must faster.

Rub for chicken

Skinless, boneless, about 1 1/2 pounds of chicken). I usually cube the chicken and just stir it into the "rub mixture." I then throw it in a pan and saute it until it is cooked through.

In a bowl make the rub by combining:

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. cayenne pepper (I usually reduce this to 1/4-1/2 teaspoon, we are lightweights around here)

1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro (if you can find the stuff in a tube, it is so much easier than chopping the fresh stuff and the results are the same)

salt and pepper to taste

Rub the skinless, boneless chicken breasts with oil/herb mixture (if you are grilling them whole). Grill on both sides until tender, 15-20 minutes, set aside.

Salad dressing

4-6 tomatillos (Get some that are nice, plump and the color of green tomatoes under the husk. If they are starting to shrivel and feel mushy, don't get them. When you are ready to use them, just remove the husk. Make sure to rinse the tomatillo off thoroughly, they have a sticky coating on them. Cut it into quarters and add it to your food processor).

1/4 cup olive oil

2-3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1-2 seeded ancho chilis (quarter and add to food processor)

1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro (again, the tube of cilantro will work just fine)

salt and pepper to taste

Process until pureed and set aside.

Wash, dry and tear 3 small heads of red or green leaf lettuce (I like to use a head of each) and arrange in a large bowl.

Cut chicken up (if you haven't already) and arrange in center of lettuce.

Arrange 1 cup each of grated Cheddar Cheese and Monterey Jack Cheese around chicken and pour dressing evenly over salad.

NOTE: This is a big salad, you may not be able to finish it in one sitting. If you want to be able to keep the salad, don't assemble it. Simply keep the components and assemble the salad when you are ready to eat it. It is wonderful if you make it ahead and serve for dinner, it is great the next day for lunch. You can take it to a party, etc. The chicken with the rub is also an awesome addition to nachos or a quesadilla.

I hope you and your family love this recipe as much as we do!

Let me know what you think.

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