Along with a somewhat failed attempt at a new (to me) cake recipe this weekend, I made some “spring break” chicken salad for us to enjoy for lunches this week! I call it spring break chicken salad because one of my best friend’s mom’s used to make it for us to take to the beach every year for spring break, and I always looked forward to it so much. Everyone on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. has been posting pictures and statuses about their spring break and beaches and making me extremely jealous. Since I don’t get a spring break any more, I at least needed some spring break chicken salad.
I love that it’s more of a savory chicken salad, rather than sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I love Waldorf chicken salad, and pretty much any kind of chicken salad… but this is my favorite. I make it a lot since I got the recipe from “Miss” Anne (thank you!), and it’s sort of evolved from the original. Here’s how I made it on Sunday:
– 1 bag frozen chicken breasts
– 1 head (?) of celery
– 6 eggs
– Duke’s Mayo (I used the light version this time)
– Lime pickles*
– Salt & Pepper to taste
*A note on lime pickles, since I’m sure some (all?) of you have never heard of such a thing. For those who are into canning, there are many recipes here, but I’m hoping to get the recipe my grandmother uses for them to replenish my supply this summer. When and if I make them, you know I’ll blog about it! If you don’t have any delicious homemade lime pickles, and I suspect this is most of you, the original recipe calls for sweet pickle cubes. However, I usually use Wickles relish to spice things up, if I’m not feeling lime pickles… or I’m out!)
Getting on with the recipe… Dump your frozen chicken into a Hugh Jass pot, along with some of the (cleaned) celery stalks. You don’t have to even thaw the chicken, and I usually use the exterior stalks for boiling, and save the interior, lighter colored stalks to chop up and put in the salad raw. Anyway, cover the chicken and celery stalks with water, add salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Boil it until the chicken is cooked – not sure how long this is, and it depends on your chicken breasts, but I usually just keep checking it until I can break up the chicken fairly easily with tongs. I also go ahead and throw the eggs in at this point and let them boil along with the chicken to save time. You want them hardboiled anyway.
Pull the cooked chicken out with tongs, and carefully place in a food processor. I usually have to do this in two batches. Process until the meat is finely shredded, and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Then, if I’m using the lime pickles, I take them out and give them a rough chop. Does anyone else think homemade pickles are beautiful? I know, I’m weird. And pickles are the best.
While I’m prepping everything else, I pull out the eggs and put them in a bowl and run cold water over them. This stops the cooking and cools them down for handling. Peel them and rough chop them and add them to the bowl, too. I finely chop the interior celery stalks and add them, along with salt and pepper to taste and enough mayo to get things moving. I try to use as little as possible, both because of the calories and because the Husband hates mayo (but likes this chicken salad?).
Stir it all up and taste it for quality control… or just because you can’t help yourself. It’s so good.
Best enjoyed on wheat thins, or as a sandwich on good ole toasted white bread and a big, juicy tomato.