There are many chicken salad recipes floating around and I have tried many of them. Most are lacking in flavor. I’ve had many people say that most chicken salad is bland, dry and just plain boring. That’s sad, chicken salad doesn’t have to be given that bad reputation. It is one of my favorite foods and I hope you give my favorite chicken salad a try. I promise, it is wonderful!
This is the first chicken salad I made when we opened the deli. It was spring and the summer people were opening their cottages and summer homes here. It was a hit and I continued to make up to the day we closed for good.
I’ve been waiting for the right time to post this recipe. I see the summer people coming back now and the weather has warmed up, so I figure it’s about the right time. The day I made this, the sun was out and the temperature was in the 80’s! It was perfect that night for dinner.
I like to roast my skin-on and chicken breasts when I make chicken salad, the chicken is very moist and the flavor benefits from the bones and skin. Not saying I haven’t cooked them on the stove. I have at times, when I know I’m going to need some chicken stock in the near future, I just prefer to keep that chicken flavor in the chicken by roasting it. There is also a side benefit….when I am separating the meat from the skin and bones, I love to snack on the crispy skin! Bad me!
I don’t just serve this on a plate all the time, I really like it on homemade croissants but those aren’t always possible. I make them when I’m having someone special over, for a special treat. Use any bread you might like, afterall, it’s the chicken salad that is the important part!
- 4 C cut up chicken breast meat
- 2 C celery, sliced thin or coarsely chopped (I do mine in a food processor)
- 1 C dried cherries
- 1 C coarsely chopped and toasted pecans
- 1½ C mayo (Hellman's preferred)
- ¼ C Kikkoman's soy sauce
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Coat a rimmed baking pan with cooking spray.
- Place chicken breasts skin side up, spray with a little cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt. If using skinless, boneless breasts (I prefer skin-on, more flavor) you should still spray and salt.
- Roast to 160° internal temp., about 45-55 min, depending on size. Remove from oven, drain grease and cool.
- When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones, cut into cubes about ½ inch in size. Mine are pretty irregular.
- Refrigerate until well chilled.
- In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, cherries and pecans.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, soy sauce, ginger celery seed and black pepper.
- Combine the dressing and salad and stir. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours for flavors to blend and cherries to soften.