Friday, September 16, 2011

Chicken Salad WITH Options!

"The American form of chicken salad was first served by Town Meats in Wakefield, Rhode Island in 1863. The original owner, Liam Gray, mixed his leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon and grapes. This became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen which still stands to this day."

So lets talk chicken salad.  I was never a fan of chicken salad, mainly because I remember it as drowning in mayo, full of onions, and under seasoned.  I love you mom, lets just clarify... its nothing personal!  You, by the way have learned 2 important facts about me, I hate onions AND mayo.  I eat them both when necessary but never choose either for ingredients if I don't have to.  Smell mayo sometime, really, try it, tell me that unless you knew what it was you would choose to put it in your mouth.   Anyway after moving back to Nebraska, my sister made chicken salad one night and I decided to try it.  I loved it, and have made some of my own variations.  Karen the glory is yours sistah!

It seems chicken salad has become sort of trendy these days.  What used to be a cheap and cheerful quick sandwich salad or salad served up in a bed of iceberg is suddenly expensive and gourmet.  How do you prefer it?  On a bed of salad greens?  A toasted bun or toasted bread?  In a wrap?  Its not just your plain old chicken salad anymore folks, its CHICKEN SALAD!   I want to share my recipe with you, on ONE condition.  You must try the recipe this week, with new additions you have NEVER tried before!

It all starts with the chicken.  I prefer white meat chicken for my chicken salad and I prefer my chicken cut into cubes, not shredded like a pack of hungry wolves got ahold of it first.  If you can, buy your chicken ON the bone and thaw it out before roasting.  Line your baking sheet with tin foil for easier clean up and liberally drizzle your chicken, skin on, with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Don't be skimpy on any of these seasonings!  Roast your chicken at 300 degrees for approx 1-1 1/2 hrs, or until clear juice runs from them.  People always think chicken breasts or white meat is dry.  News flash, ONLY if they are OVERcooked!  Never eat chicken that is not fully cooked.  Remove from your oven and let come to room temperature before DE-boning and cutting up.  You will want approx 4-5 cups of chicken cubes.  

Add to your bowl of chicken..
1/2 cup of REAL mayo (Hellman's)
1/2 cup sour cream
As always....salt and pepper to taste.
Combine thoroughly.

Now, is where your options come in.  Yes people, you have choices in your chicken salad!  There are many choices for add-ins.  Maybe you can try something you have never tried!  Some of these add-ins you will not have thought of, or think you don't like.  I urge you to step outside your safe zone, and go wild!  I know, I know, for some of you that's tiring to even think about, and for some of you its the scariest thing you have encountered in the last 12 months but I know you can do it!  For your add-ins you will need 1/3 cup of your chosen items.  Here are some of my suggestions, all tried and delish!

*Hard boiled egg
*Halved grapes, green OR red.  No seeds please!
*Onions (white, yellow, green, chives, leeks) chopped finely or grated in
*Sliced or slivered, almonds or cashews
*Olives (sliced)
*Grated carrots
These are my suggested add-ins.  Consider using several and serving them separately so you have your basic chicken salad and your family or friends can add in their own choices.   

Now for your choice of herbs.  Here is a good rule of thumb.  If you use fresh herbs, use 3 tbsp. if using dried, use 1/3 as much, so 1 tbsp.  

*Lemon juice  (no bottle stuff)
These, again, are my suggestions for possible herbs that would be delish with chicken, in your salad.
Regardless of how you are serving your chicken salad, I urge you to try something different this time. of my favorite things, butter lettuce also known as Boston Bibb.  Its hydroponically grown, and you will find it with your regular lettuce in a clear plastic container.  Its buttery and so good!  Also if you choose to add a slice of beautiful fresh tomato and you have no more in your garden....try an heirloom tomato!  Maybe it will be purple or brown or green or a few different colors in one!  They taste great and will make good conversation around your supper table.  

Well, there you have it.  Everything you need to know about Chicken Salad!  I mean, did you know it could be so exciting and versatile?  I challenge you to make it for lunch or dinner this week.  Let me know what you chose and how you like it or what you might do differently next time!  Use the comments below to share what you do with your chicken salad!

Have a great week, work hard, sleep good, and eat well!

Your friendly chefwannabe




  1. You can use bean sprouts or cucumbers on your chicken salad sandwich too!!!

  2. Love it! Can't wait to try the receipe!

  3. I bought chicken tonight to try this. So really...cook for 90 minutes?

  4. I am so happy for you Chris...Keep following your dreams

  5. Yes, when your baking it at such a low temp, it needs longer.. I think I suggested 1 to 1.5 hours. Try it...let me know if my time is way off. Low and slow is the key behind juicey! If you have a meat thermometer, should read 163-165!!! Report back!

  6. I took it out at 80 minutes and the temp read 165 on its way to 170. I only used 4 chicken breasts and the oven was previously hot from something else. So I probably should have checked the temp at 1 hour. I also just saw that you put approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. I just went straight for 90 minutes. Ha! But it's goooood!

  7. Pineapple in chicken salad is the bomb!!