Chicken salad. It’s a staple on the lunch menu of just about every deli and restaurant. What’s so special about plain old chicken salad? Want to know a little secret? I have NEVER made chicken salad. I never make chicken salad because I’m totally and completely obsessed with a chicken salad made and sold at a local grocer. Theirs is a family recipe that’s been around for like 100 years and it’s simply the best. After decades of eating it, thinking about it and trying to figure out how I can make it, I finally decided to stop thinking already, and try it! For fun lunch, I’m serving up my Chicken Salad in a Red Delicious apple!
The beauty of the chicken salad that I love so much is in its simplicity. No bells, whistles or extravagant extras here! The chicken salad that inspired mine is creamy and focused on just the chicken, which is shredded and dressed with mayo and finely diced celery. It’s those elusive spices…and the preparation of the chicken. My taste buds tell me it’s not baked, broiled or fried. I decided to simmer the chicken in chicken stock.
After shredding the chicken, dicing the celery and mixing the final product – during which you honestly would have thought I was conjuring up some magical potion, for goodness sake! – I was afraid to taste it and handed a fork to Mr. Smarty Pants. Breath held, “Well,” I asked, “What do you think?”
He took an awfully long time chewing and swallowing. The verdict? Pretty darn close and absolutely delicious. I’ll take it! I made this salad with chicken tenders, which I had in the fridge.
Chicken Salad in a Red Delicious
- Two packages of chicken tenders (about 10 pieces of chicken)
- 3 ½ cups of homemade or purchased chicken stock
- 1 cup of finely diced celery (about 3 stalks)
- ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 5-6 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 large Red Delicious Apple for each serving
In a large stockpot, bring chicken stock to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and add chicken. Cover and simmer until chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove chicken from stock, drain and cool. Shred chicken into a bowl, using two forks. Add celery, white pepper, sea salt and mayonnaise. Mix well and chill.
To serve chicken salad in a Red Delicious apple, core apple and thinly slice off top. Make another slice from the top and hollow out center of apple with a spoon. Fill apple with chicken salad. For a little extra flair, attach the apple slice to the whole apple with a toothpick. Serve with crackers.
I’m still going to be getting my favorite chicken salad – and I’ll keep trying to get it just right! For now, though, I’m thrilled that I can make my own version and a fun lunch.
Is there a dish from a local place in your town that you just love? Have you had success in making your own version at home?
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