Chicken salad is a classic and has been around forever! Nowadays, there are many versions of it. I think my mom’s chicken salad is the best and I have yet to eat any that taste as good as hers.
The recipe below is from my memory and I tried to get it as close to my moms as possible! She doesn’t have the recipe written down as she never really measures the ingredients.
I believe that one important part of chicken salad is the chicken and how you cook it. You don’t want dry, tasteless chicken in your salad. My mom always used to poach the chicken, which to me always made it just right for the salad. I like to use chicken tenderloins, which gives great results. But if you’re pressed for time, you could always buy an already cooked rotisserie chicken or even cook the chicken in the pressure cooker.
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For Poached Chicken:
16 oz (about 4-6) chicken tenderloins (breasts and/or thighs will work)
1 1/2 cups broth (if poaching)
garlic powder, salt, pepper
For the Salad:
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds (toast in a dry skillet for 3–5 min)
1 cup grapes cut in halves or quarters (I prefer red grapes)
2 stalks of celery diced small
2 green onions (white and green parts) chopped in thin slices
1/2 cup mayo (add more if you like it super moist!)
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
*Optional-fresh lemon juice from 1/2 small lemon (see note)
*Optional-fresh dill or herb of choice (see note)
1. For poaching the chicken, fill a medium-size pot with the raw chicken and add the broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder making sure the chicken is covered. Turn the heat to medium-low.
2. Bring the liquid to a low simmer, cover the pot and poach the chicken for about 20 minutes or until completely cooked through (center should be 165 ° and the juice clear). Make sure it stays at a low simmer and not a boil. While the chicken is cooking, cut up and measure out the salad ingredients and put in a large bowl.
3. Using tongs or a slotted spoon remove the chicken onto a cutting board. Discard or save the broth for another use. Let the chicken cool slightly.
4. Once cool enough to handle, chop or shred the chicken and place it in the large bowl with the other ingredients. Taste and add any ingredients as preferred.
5. Put in the fridge for at least an hour or more so that the flavors can come together. Serve on croissants, bread, toast, lettuce, or with crackers on the side
You can add other seasonings when poaching the chicken! Sometimes I will add fresh herbs to the broth
This salad can keep up to 3-5 days in the refrigerator
My favorite herb to mix in is fresh dill, but any other would work such as basil, tarragon, parsley, etc.
I will add diced apples sometimes and it gives it a nice sweeter flavor
For a lighter salad, use plain Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise.