Monday, March 24, 2014

Chicken Salad - A Matter of Preferences

I have known lots of South Georgia ladies who thought that their Chicken Salad was the best, and were highly guarded with the ingredients. I've tried them all - the whipping cream version, sour cream add-in, pasta recipe, new fangled low fat types, and hot chicken salad. Of course, our family thinks ours is the best. That is because I have always molded it to the individual - Michael - no onions - Jenny, a little mustard mixed with the mayo - Walter- lots of onions, celery, boiled eggs- Amy - no onions or eggs plus olives and grapes

Here is the recipe for my favorite chicken salad - My friend Sophie likes it pretty good too!

As in most recipes, the secret is in the seasonings. Stew 3 or 4 chicken breasts, bone-in, in salted water in a stock pot- Bring to a good boil, turn to a slow boil and simmer for about one hour or until meat is no longer pink, but is still tender and juicy.  You will have some really good chicken broth also - Don't be afraid to use any of your favorite seasonings in the water - Remove breasts from pot and let cool in a bowl. Pick the meat off of the bones and place in a large bowl. You will want at least 3 1/2 to 4 cups of cubed chicken breast. Add to breasts, 2 tbs finely chopped green onions,  1/4 cup chopped celery,  sweet salad cubes ( relish is a little too vinegary for my taste), 2 chopped boiled eggs, chopped green olives with pimientos, and red seedless grapes, quartered and salt and pepper to taste.  Start with around 3/4 cup mayonnaise, a good pour of pickle juice and a little juice from the olives. Mix well and taste - You will need plenty of clean spoons - It is a taste until it's great procedure. When it tastes so good that you can't stand it, open a package of Ritz chips or make little crustless sandwiches on white bread.
photographed and prepared by Amy Fladell

Secret to good Chicken Salad
Make sure the stock water is seasoned - It is very hard to season after the chicken has been stewed
Don't boil the chicken to death - and don't use boneless breasts - (dry and flavorless)
Use a good mayonnaise - I prefer Duke's - Some swear by Hellman's-
Add what you love to your chicken salad - My mother and her sisters always put red delicious apples in theirs - Some people use mandarin oranges or pineapple-
Taste as you add your mayonnaise and use any seasonings that you like - I think a little horseradish might even be good-

Please comment on your favorite chicken salad ingredients

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