a fair and balanced birdthing (raaven) wrote,
a fair and balanced birdthing
raaven

Mmmm...chicken salad!

I'm one of those people who likes my own cooking more than I like anyone else's. This past weekend, I cooked & boned a bunch of chicken, and Tuesday night when I got home I made chicken salad. I've just been nibbling on it, and it's delicious!
A rough-hewn recipe follows

-a bunch of bone-in, skin-on chicken, in whatever proportions of light/dark meat you prefer. I used a medium sized whole chicken, plus 4 full center breasts. These are cooked in a large pot on a low heat with enough water to cover, bay leaves, mustard seed, celery tops and dried basil. Not only do the herbs give the chicken a nice base flavor, it also makes the water one step closer to stock. Stock is good. Love the stock.

Try not to overcook the chicken. This can be hard to judge, but overdoing it can make a dry chicken salad. Workable, but not so wonderful as tender juicy chicken. While you're waiting for the chicken to cool, dice a bunch of onions. In this case, dicing means you end up with pea-sized bits of onion. For the amount of chicken I cooked, I used 3 smallish-medium yellow onions (beware, though, I really like onions).

While the chicken is still warm (as hot as you can stand it), debone it into a bowl where the onions await. The heat from the chicken will mellow the onions a bit, while still leaving them crispy. Stir the onions and chicken around with a bit of salt if desired, and let cool.

Once the main mixture is cooled, add in any combo of the following (I use all, if I have them available):

chopped raw almonds
diced celery
diced sharp apple (Cortland works very well)
diced sweet gherkin pickles
dried cranberries
(these can all be diced & set aside while the chicken is cooking)

Sauce for meat salads is a very personal thing, so I'll just give an outline of what I use for mine. I start with equal parts mayonaise, miracle whip and plain yogurt, with a generous dollop of mustard (some variations I use are horseradish mustard, raspberry mustard, and whole grain mustard...but plain old yellow works well too)thrown in. I add water to make the whole thing more pourable, than flavor with:

-garam masala
-cumin
-lemon pepper
-cayenne (just enough to sharpen the whole mixture)

Best served after at least one full night in the fridge, and a good stirring, on rice cakes. Yes, seriously, rice cakes. The only time I buy rice cakes is when I make chicken salad, but they really are a wonderful match for the salad.
Tags: food/drink, recipes
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