As I sit here and enjoy the fresh summer air, I am thinking about change. For some, change is unwelcomed, feared, or just labeled as a downright bad thing. Others, however, embrace change and are eager to accept it wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, we must all endure some sort of change every now and then. Even my children are coping with change right now, adapting to the summer season and being out of school. I sometimes have my doubts about change, yet almost always I love to explore the new beginnings that change can bring.
In recent months, I myself have made quite a few changes - the biggest one being in my career. Here I am now, at the Ellicottville Brewing Company, joining forces with a crew already in the midst of a large undertaking with the expansion of the brewery and restaurant. And is it a beautiful place! I have learned quite a lot just in the last month, meeting new faces and seeing new things. We are working through some challenges along the way, but the EBC staff really takes it all in stride and is willing to adapt and adjust to solve problems as they arise.
We have plenty of exciting things in store for our guests in the coming months that may ultimately involve even more change. We’re introducing a few new menu items, and there’s always a new beer or three around this place. One of those new menu items may surprise you – an eclectic food item that will make you think, “Wow! That’s different for a Gastro-Pub!” It’s our Mango Chicken Salad (a personal favorite of mine). This dish was actually created by our Operations Manager, Steve Gotreau all the way back in 1987.
Having a menu item that’s 25 years old hardly seems new, but it is nonetheless different and delicious. If you were to come down to EBC and sit outside on a warm, sunny afternoon in our beer garden to enjoy a tall Blueberry Wheat beer, the perfect refreshing accompaniment would be the newly re-invented Mango Chicken Salad. This recipe is elegant and delicate yet simple and quick. Let’s go …
MANGO CHICKEN SALAD
2 lb. raw Chicken Tenderloins or Breasts
2 T Whole Peppercorns
5 ea Bay Leaves
¾ cup Sour Cream
¾ cup Mayonnaise
½ cup Major Grey’s Mango Chutney (look for it at Wegmans)
½ lb. White Grapes
½ lb. Fresh Mango
½ tsp. Kosher Salt
¼ tsp. Ground Pepper
4 ea Naan Bread or Pita Pocket
1 head Boston Bibb or Romaine Lettuce
Place the chicken, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a pot and top with water. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop and cook the chicken. (Break a piece open after about 10 minutes and check to see if it’s cooked through.) Strain the chicken and place in the refrigerator to cool down. Once cooled, shred the chicken by hand or with a knife. (I am a huge fan of rustic styled shredded meats, so I’d recommend going with the hand job method.)
Peel and dice the mango into small pieces. Pick and rinse your grapes and split them down the middle.
Mix the cooled shredded chicken with the mango, chutney, grapes, sour cream, and mayonnaise. At this point you will want to season the mixture with salt and pepper.
At the restaurant, we display our chicken salad in Bibb lettuce leaves, almost like little chicken salad cups, adding the cut naan bread as garnish and for an added carbohydrate, but at home feel free to make a sandwich or stuffed pita pocket with it.
Appreciating a fine, warm, sunny summer day in Ellicottville with the EBC Mango Chicken Salad is only half the pleasure. With fork in one hand, it only makes sense to fill your other hand with a tasty brew. My suggestions for this dish would be 1) our Blueberry Wheat, which happens to be our #1 seller thanks to its light golden wheat flavor and subtle blueberry aroma. Or 2) opt for my absolute favorite choice to accompany this salad: our Summer Hefewiezen, which utilizes ancient brewing techniques that beer makers have perfected over thousands of years. The “Hefe” is yellow in color with hints of banana and clove, using only German noble hops, wheat, barley, yeast, and water.
It feels good to sit here and reflect on my recent changes. I am happy and content, and I am enjoying every moment of it.
Whether you are biking, boating, driving, or riding, everyone out there be safe in your travels this summer, and come see me at EBC. You will love the new facilities; they are inspiringly beautiful and magnificent! And remember: embracing change may not be so bad after all … especially with good food and drink by your side.
- Chef Joshua McDowell
Chef Joshua McDowell is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts of Pittsburgh, PA. He carries a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts and offers over 16 years of experience in the food service industry. He has spent the last 10 years honing his skills in and around the Ellicottville area, and has recently taken on the position of Executive Chef at the newly expanded Ellicottville Brewing Company, with the goal of expanding the EBC food brand. The Ellicottville Brewing Company is located at 28 Monroe Street, smack dab in the middle of downtown EVL, phone 716-699-2537.