One of my favorite things to eat this time of year is chicken salad. For some odd reason, I never make it in the fall or winter. It makes me think SPRING is on the way!! Maybe it’s tied to baby chicks. Wobbling around on their little spindly legs. Saying, “hey wait for me to grow up, and then you’ll be able to make me into chicken salad!! Now, you are for sure going Vegan on me.
Chicken salad: Love it on a slice of bread. Or a piece of lettuce. Or a croissant. Or just by itself, right out of the bowl in the fridge.
This is a dish I’ve been making forever. Without a recipe. It changes a little every time. The basics ingredients are always the same: chicken, mayo, celery, and the last necessity-fruit. Love it with pineapple, or grapes, or apples. Anything sweet. If I can’t get any of those, craisins will do. Just a little sweet to go with the savory.You know how much I love my fruit and meat/poultry together!
Chicken Salad with Apples and Dill
- 1 small Gala or other sweet apple*
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 cups cooked chopped white chicken meat
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped celery I use about 2 stalks
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup golden raisins or Craisins optional
- 1 teaspoon dried dill weed*
- nuts if desired (I like cashews or almonds)
- Salt pepper
Core the apple and chop into cubes, leaving the skin on. Place chopped apple in small bowl with cold water and lemon juice, set aside.
Place chopped chicken and celery in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mayo, dill and nuts if desired. Drain apples well and add to chicken mixture.
Serve on top of a big beautiful piece of leaf lettuce, or on bread of your choice.
Keeps for about 3 days in fridge.
Tips: (sit down, this is longer than the recipe)
-Best tip for fab chicken salad - Use good mayonnaise. Not store brand, not- low or no fat. Don't go there. I use Best Foods or Hellman's. Or if you are an over-achiever, make your own.
-If you are using an apple for a filling in a salad, make sure the apple is cold, or at least room temperature before slicing. If the fruit is warm, the fruit will brown much faster.
-* You may sub a handful of seedless grapes (I like red for color) cut the in half if they are really big grapes, a chopped (skinned) mango, a half can of pineapple tidbits, (drained well -for at least 30 minutes), the possibilities are endless. Try to choose fruit without a lot of water content, and fruit that is firm. Raspberries- not be a good choice. They break up too easily in the salad. Sliced strawberries are ok, as long as they are not too juicy, if so they will turn the mayo pink. When using fruit in this salad, after washing,and draining place the fruit on a paper towel on the counter before adding to the salad to make sure the excess water is drained off. You don't need to do this with apples. Just chop, soak in lemon juice and drain for a couple of minutes.
-*In the summer when dill is plentiful, use fresh dill, and increase the amount to about 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill.
-I also really like a bit of curry in my chicken salad. Instead of the dill, use about 1/2 teaspoon of curry, add another 1/2 teaspoon after tasting, if you like a stronger curry flavor.
-Oh, last thing. If you are making this for a quaint little ladies luncheon, and don't want the black pepper flakes to get stuck in your teeth, or you just aren't pleased with the look of pepper on your otherwise celestial looking salad, buy some white pepper, sold in the spice section of your grocery, and use that instead.