Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chicken Salad

A few years back I was visiting my friend Kerri Ann in Austin.  It was lunchtime so she says “let’s see what I have in the ‘frig for lunch.”  If the roles were reversed, my heart would have stopped at this point unless I had been to the store in advance of her arrival.  David claims “you have no idea what is in the refrigerator.”  True (as I throw out a Tupperware container of chicken from ??)!  But I can find anything in the pile on my desk and tell you without looking whether there is Blue Bell ice cream in the freezer.  Surely that counts for something?!?! 

Back to my friend and our lunch, she proceeds to pull out a roasted chicken breast and exclaims “I’ll make chicken salad.”  I watched in awe as she threw items (that she had on hand in her pantry, no less) in the bowl then waved her magic wand over it and poof - yumminess!!  So I am channeling my best version of Kerri Ann and adding some dried cranberries, a la Festive Kitchen's version of chicken salad. 

This chicken salad would taste great with a butter lettuce salad or with sliced avocados or tomatoes or La Panzanella crackers.  Shall I keep going? 


Chicken Salad
1.      1 cooked chicken breast, cut into small pieces about 1-1/4 c – start with a skin-on, bone-in chicken breast – two cooking options below: roasting or boiling 
2.      ¼ c mayonnaise
3.      ¼ c chopped walnuts
4.      ¼ c chopped celery
5.      ¼ c dried cranberries (or Craisins now makes 1 oz. pouches)
6.      1/8 t salt
7.      Other items to consider adding: black pepper, tarragon, chopped apples, grapes (cut in half), almonds instead of walnuts, red onion

To cook the chicken by roasting: preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 35-45 minutes (chicken should reach 170 degrees).  Allow to cool.  Once cooled, remove skin and pull meat from the bones.  Cut into bite size pieces or shred with 2 forks.

To cook the chicken by boiling: place the chicken and water in a large pot with some olive oil and salt (chopped onions, optional).  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently.  Simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes – the chicken should be cooked by then but you can check it with your meat thermometer.  Let it cool, uncovered and then remove the skin and pull the meat from the bones, as noted above.

Place the diced or shredded chicken in a bowl.  Add other ingredients into the bowl and mix well.  Adjust quantities of ingredients as needed.  Flavors will meld together better if you mix and refrigerate prior to serving.

No comments: