CPK Style BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

One of my all-time favorite salads is the BBQ Chicken chopped salad from CPK–so yesterday I thought i’d learn how to make one just like it. I had NO idea at the time how many components went into a salad like this: the chicken, the home-made BBQ sauce, the home made garden herb ranch dressing, the salad itself, and the baked tortilla strips… I was also making some sticky rice for a mango and sticky rice dessert so there was a lot going on in my kitchen yesterday evening {and I may have made quite the mess to prove it!} :-/ Usually if a recipe is too complicated or too much work, I don’t want to make it again so I don’t post it… but this salad was one of the BEST salads I have ever eaten, so all the work was way worthwhile! Plus it can be easily adapted with store-brought BBQ and ranch to whip up in minutes, and it keeps so well that it tastes just as good and fresh the next day.

{for the BBQ Chicken} 
4 chicken breasts
1 slice bacon/prosciutto
1 bunch fresh thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika if available
Freshly ground black pepper
{for the CPK Garden Herb Ranch Dressing} 
1/2 tsp dry mustard
3/4 cup mayo
1 cup buttermilk
8 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp sliced scallions
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh italian parsley
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp minced fresh dill
1/4 tsp minced dried oregano
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp minced fresh basil
{for the salad}
1 head romaine lettuce (rinsed and sliced thinly)
12 large fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly
1  lb jicama, cut into thin strips
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned sweet white corn kernels, drained
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dices
{for the tortilla strips}
2 flour tortillas
1 Tbsp olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions:
For the BBQ Sauce: Wrap the bacon around the bunch of thyme and tie with kitchen twine so you have a nice bundle. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme and cook slowly 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste. Add the garlic and chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors.
For the Chicken:
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Season the chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper, then cook for about 5 minutes either side, until done, or no longer pink in the center.
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For the Garden Herb Ranch Dressing: Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a blender, and blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth, thick and creamy
For the Baked Tortilla Strips {recipe from Martha Stewart}: Preheat oven to 425degF. slice the tortillas in half, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Spread in a single layer; bake until golden brown and crisp, turning halfway through, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
For the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce, basil, jimaca, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, dressing and half of the baked tortilla chips. Transfer the salads to chilled serving bowls. Top with slices of chicken, and surround with diced tomatoes. Add the remaining tortilla chips, then drizzle the BBQ sauce on top; garnish with scallion.
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After all the work of making them, I totally almost forgot to make the tortilla strips! Whoops. SONY DSC SONY DSC

Stir the salad up and add more dressing: BBQ or ranch, whatever you like. 
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YUM! SONY DSC

The unhealthiness of this salad kinda defeats the point of even eating one… but it’s SO delicious it’s definitely worth the calories, I promise!

Enjoy guys!
<3 Sarah