Being a proper Southern lady, I love chicken salad. Put it on a sandwich, on a green salad, with a few Wheat Thins, or just eat it by itself – delicious.
And my family has passed down over the years what I consider the absolute best chicken salad recipe out there. The chicken salad is the center piece of my family’s annual boat trip, and while weather cancelled the trip this year (60 degrees in Austin in September?? brrrr!) it didn’t cancel the chicken salad feast.
So, at the risk of revealing a closely-held family secret, here’s my recipe for the world’s best chicken salad.
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (click “continue reading” to see more!)
- 2 cans chicken stock
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 3 stalks chopped celery
- 12 diced grapes
- Salt and pepper to taste
*Note: all amounts are estimated – adjust to taste. Also, my aunt would probably like me to note that she considers the addition of grapes to be utterly sacrilegious. (I disagree.)
- Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large stock pot, then add chicken breasts. Boil for ten minutes or until cooked through. (You can also roast the chicken, but it takes a lot longer. Expect a more smokey flavor in the finished chicken salad if you decide to roast.)
- Place your cooked chicken breasts in a food processor and pulse just a few times until chicken is just separated – don’t go overboard or you’ll lose the texture. (Again, my aunt would call this sacrilege. She says you must pull the chicken apart with forks. This method works too, but it takes longer.) Chill the chicken in the fridge for at least an hour, until cooled.
- Combine shredded chicken and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Remember when adding the wet ingredients that you can always add more, but you can’t take away, so add conservatively until you reach the desired level of moist-ness.
- Let sit in refrigerator for at least three hours (overnight is even better) to allow the flavors to gel.
This recipe is great for luncheons, showers, and picnics. Let me know how you like it in the comments!