Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chicken Salad

So I'm not even going to try to write a normal recipe for this. I have never measured a thing while making chicken salad. It is one of those things where I just wing it and it always comes out pretty much the same. I got this recipe originally from my sister Deboleh and the only thing I've changed (that I remember...) is adding a little tarragon. Here is the big trick to making good chicken salad: boil the chicken in chicken broth. Well that and let it sit overnight in the fridge. This is one of the very, very few things that I will use bouillon in. Normally I find bouillon to be just... wrong. But in this all it is doing is keeping the chicken flavor from leeching out into the water and it does just fine. So I've got about a pound and a half of chicken and one bouillon cube in a pot of water. You can use canned broth if you have it, it works even better. But all I have right now is the cubes. Soon I will be making stock, but I would never, ever use that for this. That would just be a waste. Now boil the chicken till it's done. Don't worry if it gets dry, that is good. Then it sucks up the dressing. You should really rinse the chicken before you cook it. If you don't (like I didn't) then you get this spooge all over the place. I pull most of it off and just ignore the rest. I don't think it changes anything it just looks gross. While the chicken is cooking chop up some onion. I think I used about 1/4 or 1/3 of a cup this time. I like using sweet onions. I also like using paper plates for cutting boards sometimes. I'm not proud. When the chicken is cooked pull it out of the broth and let it sit till you can handle it. Cutting it helps it cool faster. But don't cut on the ceramic plate. Not if you care about your knives. When you can work with it you can cut it into bite sized pieces, I just pull it apart with my fingers. I find the rough edges help the dressing cling. Because, you know, that's a big concern with a mayonnaise based dressing. Toss in your onion. Ease of pouring, another good reason to use paper plates. See? It's not just that I'm feeling lazy. Then add your mayonnaise. Looks like a lot doesn't it? Well, it was, a bit. Of course it also looks like more than it was in these pics... But you can't take it back and it was still wicked good. Just a touch mayo-y. I think it was.. a quarter cup? I don't know, a couple big forkfulls. If you want to use light mayo, go nuts but please, in the name of all that is sweet and good in the world, don't use Miracle Whip. Now add some dijon mustard, it's really a to taste thing, but you want to be careful. It can get overpowering pretty quick. I've tried it with all kinds of mustards and I keep coming back to dijon. It just works the best for this and you often don't need to add salt. Fresh cracked black pepper is next, lots of it. This right here? Turns out it wasn't as much as I like. You can always just put a little more on it when you eat if you want. But I think out of the dozens of times I have made this I have only had too much pepper once and it was still perfectly edible. Of course I also love me some fresh black pepper. Now add just a little tarragon. Three or four shakes is all I put in, it just rounds out the flavors nicely. Now stir it up and taste it. Add anything it needs. You can also mix up the dressing by itself before adding it to the chicken. But I made this at one in the morning and wasn't feeling clever.Seal it up or else your fridge will stink like onions. I like this sticky plastic stuff. I don't remember what it's called off the top of my head and besides unless they want to pay me I'm not pimping their products. But hey, if any reps for food companies are reading my prices are reasonable. Heh. Now let it sit overnight. Then the next day it looks like this. Mmmmm. Some of the dressing has soaked into the meat, the flavors have all mingled and the onion has softened a bit. Drop it on a roll and eat it. Want to get all fancy-pants? Add grapes, celery, raisins, walnuts, almond slivers, cashews, scallions, fresh dill, roasted garlic, raw garlic, apple, fresh basil, marjoram or pretty much anything you like. You also don't have to eat it in a roll, toss it on a bed of lettuce, put it in a wrap, add even more mayo (or less chicken) and toss it in pasta for a cold pasta salad... well that's all I can think of, but do it however you like. That's the beauty of chicken salad. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some unfinished business around my lunch...



4 comments:

deboleh said...

Ah, the best chicken salad recipe ever. Where did you get it? Oh yeah, ME. But hey, I've never done the tarragon...I will next time. :-)

Bob said...

Hey, it's not like I didn't give you credit. :P The tarragon adds a nice little bit, I've found. It's not really very detectable, at least not in the ammounts I use, it just rounds everything out.

andypandy said...

is that a Big Marty's roll? My most favorite ever (w/ the exception of a nice fresh Portugese)

Bob said...

andypandy: Heh, it is! They're one of my favorites too.

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