Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chicken salad, with apples and chives

Sunday was roast chicken night. I'd picked up a hefty one from Drewes the day before and once it was stuffed with lemons, seasoned, and trussed, I called my sister.

"I think this chicken is going to take almost two hours," I told her.

"How big is it?" she asked.

"Six pounds!" I replied, feeling like a proud parent.

My sister cooed appreciatively. "That's almost a small turkey!" she admired.

I like roasting big chickens: they cook better and more evenly, I find, and as long as I start them on the breast side and then flip them, they don't dry out. A few hours later, the husband and I dug into the bird, with crispy potatoes and garlicky broccoli rabe on the side.

The next night we had a rerun dinner.

After that, the sides were gone, but there was still a lot of chicken left, mostly white meat, since as I explained a few weeks ago, between the two of us, the thighs, drummies, and wings are the first to go. While leftover chicken can go a thousand different ways, recently I've been on a chicken salad kick. I usually make it the same way, with measurements varying depending on how much chicken I have to use as a base. But basically it's:

  • chicken (cubed, not shredded)
  • mayo
  • lemon juice
  • apple
  • celery
  • salt and pepper
  • a fresh herb (my favorites are tarragon, basil, or chives)

I like chicken salad with grapes, too, and have enjoyed ones with walnuts or pecans. But, I don't include either of those things in my recipe. I rarely have a bunch of grapes on hand, and nuts require toasting and cooling. The beauty of chicken salad is in its quick, satisfying assembly: chop, mix, taste, adjust, eat.

I like it best just on a bed of arugula. I have turned it into a sandwich, but it's too messy. One might wonder if this is because I greedily load up the bread with too much salad. This would be an excellent point.

I think the chicken salad sandwich might work best in a pita pocket. When I suggested this to the husband, he just started to laugh at me. He thinks it's funny, how obsessive I am about cooking and eating. On the other hand, he was very pleased the other morning when I informed him that instead of buying a lunch, he could take some of the chicken salad I'd just whipped up, chock full of sweet apples and bright green chives. Who's laughing now?


  1. 1) that looks so good it makes me cry.
    2) I put everything in Pitas.
    3) I was inspired to make ceviche based on one of yr. earlier bloggings. It was good, so thank you.
    4) you have a nice writing style. breezy yet caloric. (?)
    5) I'm sorry for all the numbers.

  2. Six pound chicken, eh?
    Cubed, not shredded, eh?
    Grapes, eh?
    Hubris thinks you're writing is caloric, eh?

  3. Hubris45: don't cry! just make some chicky salad for yourself. Glad to hear about the ceviche inspiration. And, thank you for the compliment! It means something coming from a gen-u-ine writer.

    Cee: I know you don't like chicken so a 6-lb one is probably your nightmare.

  4. My first response. We'll see if I do it right...

    1. LOVE chicken salad. It's my new fav sandwich and I insist on cubed meat as well. But I flavor my mayo with mustard and curry powder and throw in chopped celery & scallions, walnuts (untoasted bits straight out of TJ bag) and... raisins (through prefer grapes if I have them)!

    2. I was 6 lbs. when I was born.

    3. You are not obsessive about food.

  5. I love a good chicken salad...I'm a fan of using roasted chicken leftovers for black bean and cheese enchiladas.

  6. Pete: yay! I'm glad you're officially posting. 6 lbs---um, I outweighed you by 2 lbs at birth. Hm.

    Mark: I like this enchilada idea for chicken leftovers...but I need a recipe. Can you provide?