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Chicken Elizabeth

Serves 12.

FOR THE CHICKEN

12 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons vegetable oil Salt and pepper, to taste

½ cup water

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, arrange the breasts tightly, skin side up; they should not overlap. With your fingers, rub the breasts with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water in at the edges.

2. Cover the chicken with parchment paper. Cook the breasts for 25 to 30 minutes or until they are firm to the touch and cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Remove breasts from the cooking liquid and store in a large container for up to 3 days.

FOR THE MAYONNAISE

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup tomato or vegetable juice

2 tablespoons apricot jam

1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar

1 cup mayonnaise

1. In a saucepan, heat the oil and cook the curry powder for 2minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomato or vegetable juice and jam. Stir well until the jam dissolves. Bring to a boil and simmer steadily for 5minutes or until the mixture reduces by half.

2. Add the vinegar and continue cooking for 2minutes or until the mixture thickens again. It should be a thick but pourable consistency. Leave to cool completely.

3. In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of the curry mixture and blend well. Addmore curry mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the mayonnaise has a pourable consistency.

4. Transfer the sauce to a plastic container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Refrigerate the remaining curry mixture separately for thinning the mayonnaise before serving.

FOR THE RICE SALAD

Salt, to taste

3 cups long-grain white rice

½ lemon

2 yellow bell peppers

4 carrots

3 tomatoes

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup slivered almonds, toasted until golden

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup white wine vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. Sprinkle in the rice and add the lemon half. Let the water return to a boil, stirring often. Cook the rice over medium high heat—the water should bubble rapidly—for 12 minutes exactly or until the rice is tender when tasted. (The rice will not absorb the water.)

2. Drain the rice into a large colander. Use the end of a wooden spoon to make a dozen holes in the rice so the water drains. Leave it to cool. Discard the lemon half. 3. Core and seed the yellow peppers. Cut them into matchsticks.

4. Halve the carrots lengthwise. Slice them thinly on a diagonal. Drop them into a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 3minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. 5. Peel and seed the tomatoes. Cut them into strips.

6. In a bowl combine the raisins and enough warm water to cover them. Let them soak for 20 minutes; drain. Refrigerate the vegetables together in a container for up to 1 day.

7. To assemble: In a very large mixing bowl, combine the rice, yellow peppers, carrots, tomatoes, raisins, and almonds.

8. In another bowl, whisk the mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Gradually whisk in the oil a little at a time. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture. Add the parsley and stir gently. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

9. Arrange the rice salad on a very large platter (or use two). Set the chicken on the salad in a row or around the edges, points facing toward the center.

10. Whisk the refrigerated mayonnaise until smooth. Add more of the curry mixture to thin the sauce, if necessary. Use a large metal spoon to coat the chicken with the mayonnaise. Serve at once.

SHERYL JULIAN & JULIE RIVEN

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