Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Chicken Salad

As I write, I'm eating the last leftovers of the best chicken salad I've ever made.  It had the perfect combination of crunch, chew, creaminess, sweet and savory.  It was SOOOO good, that I'm writing it down for myself so I won't forget how I did it.  I guess you can see it to.  I mostly combined 2 recipes that I found, which both seemed to be lacking in what the other provided.  Perfect combination!!

Chicken Salad

4 regular or 5 smallish chicken breasts
2 ribs celery, finely diced
3 green onions, split lengthwise and finely chopped
1/2C pecan halves, broken into pieces or roughly chopped
1/2C walnut halves broken into pieces or roughly chopped
1 small apple, diced (peel only if the skin is tough)
1C black seedless grapes, halved

1/2C mayonaisse
1/2C sour cream
1/2C loosely packed fresh basil, sliced into shreds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

First, cook the chicken.  I took my chicken breasts out of the freezer, plopped them onto a rimmed baking sheet and into a 350 oven.  About an hour into it, I had to drain the pan of water.  Cook until the internal temp is at least 160.  Chop into nice smallish pieces - mine were about 1/2".  Or you can choose to shred your chicken by pulling it apart with 2 forks.  Chunks are nice for eating with a fork, but shreds stay in a sandwich better.  Place chicken in a large mixing bowl.

While the chicken is cooking, toast your nuts.  You can spread them on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at about 350 for 8-12 minutes, shaking the pan every few minutes or until lightly toasted.  Or, you can put them in a cast iron skillet on med/low heat and shake the pan every minute or so until toasted.  Cool and add to the chicken.

Chop the celery, green onion, apple and halve the grapes and add to the chicken.  In a small bowl or 2C glass measuring cup, mix together all the dressing ingredients.  You may want to add the salt last, a little at a time and taste as you go.  Adjust the seasonings now, but remember the flavors of the other ingredients will make a big difference.

Toss everything together in the big bowl and enjoy!!  You can start with only part of the dressing if it looks like too much.  Makes around 7-8C.

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