Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chicken Salad

I am often asked for my chicken salad recipe. All the credit goes to the Joy of Cooking cookbook, circa 1979 which offers these guidelines that I have adapted into a recipe of my own.

The basic guideline is to use twice as much chicken in your salad as all other ingredients combined. I often make this for a crowd, so here is how I do it.

Simmer boneless chicken breasts (3-4 lbs) in enough water to cover the chicken completely. I season this chicken well by adding
  • 2-3 carrots
  • a large coarsely chopped onion,
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • a few cloves of garlic or a spoonful on prepared minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • about 1 tsp. salt,
  • about 1 tsp thyme
  • about 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 3-4 peppercorns,
sometimes I add some rosemary or dill, depending on the mood and most of the ingredients can have more or less depending on your taste, or what is on hand.

Simmer the chicken until it is tender.

When the chicken is done, strain the broth and save for another use. Cool chicken.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the chicken. I usually chop about half in the food processor into small bits and chop the other half by hand to have larger bites in the salad. Make sure the bits of chicken are small enough to stay on a sandwich.

To make the salad:
  • 8 cups chopped chicken
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
  • about 1 cup grated carrot
  • about 1 cup chopped celery
  • about 2 cups red grapes, quartered.

You can add any combination of ingredients, so it equals 4 cups altogether.

to the salad add
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Blend into chicken mixture and refrigerate a couple of hours before serving to blend flavors.

Chicken salad is delicious served on home made wheat bread.

12/21/2012 update:  Recently I was out of sour cream, so I used a bit of buttermilk to thin the mayonnaise.  It was a great improvisation!  I might make it like that next time- on purpose!

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