Chicken Salad (the good kind)

Okay, let’s just get this out of the way right now…you can make this with chicken or turkey, it doesn’t matter.  Moving on…I am a chicken salad FANATIC.  I could eat pounds of it in one sitting, for this reason I reserve my chicken salad binges for the homemade stuff.  Store bought or restaurant ordered chicken salad is a huge gamble, and I prefer betting on horses.  Just kidding I don’t do that either.

I don’t know what some people are thinking with their chicken salad recipes, here’s a few versions that I’ve encountered in the past:

Version 1:   1 lb chicken, 63 lbs mayonnaise

Version 2:   1/2 lb chicken, 63 lbs mayonnaise

Version 3:   1 lb chicken, 1 lb mayonnaise, 1 cup of every fruit, vegetable, and nut known to man

If I had to choose, the last option doesn’t sound horrible but still not ideal.

In this recipe the chicken is the star, just as God intended.  I think I’ve got a pretty good balance of savory, sweet, crunch, and creamy.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 – 1.5 pounds organic chicken breast
  • 1 – 1.5 pound organic chicken thighs
  • 32 oz. organic chicken stock
  • 3 cups red grapes (cut in half)
  • 3 large celery stalks (chopped small)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 – 2 cups mayonnaise (the good stuff)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

You obviously don’t have to buy organic chicken, but I highly recommend it…and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.  My grocery store carries a brand from a local farm that I like AND it’s from Amish country, I don’t know why this is different than regular country but it sounds good.  I use boneless skinless but you don’t have to, bone-in works fine and it’s cheaper.  You can also use all chicken breast meat, I just like the combo of the two.  You can also get up every day at 5:00 AM to workout, I prefer to sleep until the last possible minute.  Lots of choices here.

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I recommend poaching the chicken, it’s easy and the chicken stays nice and moist.  Just get your chicken stock simmering in a large pot and then add the chicken, add water if the stock doesn’t completely cover the chicken.  Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot and set it aside to cool before handling it, that shit will be hot.

 

This is a great time to prep your other ingredients, slice your grapes, cut your celery, yell at your kids, whatever.

Once the chicken has cooled, dice it up.  There’s no rule on the size of the dice, if you want to put this salad on a sandwich I would suggest dicing it to the same size as the grapes.  If you’re going to ugly eat this out of the serving bowl while standing in front of the refrigerator I would go for a bigger dice.

Combine everything in a large bowl and gently stir until the ingredients are distributed evenly (especially the mayo).  You can always add more mayonnaise but taking it away seems like it would be more of a challenge, you would have to suck it off the grapes or something.  Moral of the story, don’t over mayo it.

I like to let it chill in the fridge for a while and then taste it again, it may need more salt depending on your taste (I usually add more salt).  Serve it up on a bed of lettuce, between some thick grainy bread, in a pita, or eat it out of the bowl like a dog, what do I care.

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