I love chicken salad. I mean really love it. I can eat it all year round, but it is especially good in the summer. Saying that, though, I’m really picky about my chicken salad. It has to be just right. As close to my grandmother’s as possible.
When I was little I remember her making huge messes of chicken salad and potato salad. Sometimes there would be so much for events or family reunions that the bathtub was the holding spot. . .
The other week I finished reading Mary Kay Andrew’s book, Itty Bitty Lies.
Chicken Salad plays a part in the book, and at the end of the book she shares her recipe for Beyond the Grave Chicken Salad. That inspired me to make a big batch and I’ve been eating it for lunch all week long!
When I mentioned I was picky, it means this. I want my chicken salad to be made with only white meat from the chicken. I want it shredded or chopped into little bitty pieces. I do not want it too mayonnaisey – and speaking of mayo – being from the South it needs to be Duke’s mayonnaise. (I am normally not a mayonnaise fan and rarely touch the stuff, but sometimes you just need that certain dab in some of your Southern foods) I also like my chicken salad to have a crunch, preferably from chopped celery. I am okay with some fancier versions that have nuts, grapes and raisins, but those are not my every day favorites. For me, simple is the key here.
I’ve taken my grandmother’s recipe, as closely as I can remember it, lightened it a bit and here it is!
I will admit here that where I used a bottled light Italian dressing, (similar to the recipe for Beyond the Grave Chicken Salad) I’m sure my Bigmama didn’t take that shortcut.
My Favorite Chicken Salad
5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 quarts of water
1 Onion, chopped into quaters
2 chicken bouillon cubes
Bring the 2 quarts of water to boil, adding in the parsley, onion and bouillon. Add the chicken and lower the heat and cook until chicken is tender. 35-40 minutes. Remove chicken from the water, cool and shred.
1/2 Cup light Italian salad dressing
3/4 Cup light Duke’s mayonnaise
1 Tb white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp celery seed
1 1/2 Tb sugar
Blend all of these ingredients together. Mix shredded chicken with one cup of the dressing and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Mix one cup of chopped celery to the chicken.
That’s it! Simple, not too mayonnaisey. If you want to get creative and add in chopped nuts, grapes or other stuff go right ahead!
This makes a ton of chicken salad so be prepared to eat on it daily or share!
One of my prized possessions . . . one of my grandmother’s notebooks. . .
How do you like your chicken salad? What makes it for you?
Enjoy Your Day!