Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans

I love chicken salad - in a sandwich, scooped onto a lettuce leaf, or just a scoop on a plate.  When I occasionally get myself organized (yes, it actually DOES happen) and when I see chicken on sale at the grocer's, I'll poach a ton of chicken in my really big slow cooker overnight, strain the broth and freeze in 1/2 cup portions, shred some of the chicken to use in Mexican dishes, and cube the rest for pot pies and chicken salads.  This is one of my favorite chicken salads - I like all the different textures in this one:

 Chicken, Grape and Pecan Salad
3 pounds , skinless chicken breasts, well rinsed and patted dry
3 cups of water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 pound of seedless green grapes ( or red. Whatever.)
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1 cup diced celery
chopped fresh dill, to taste
1 - 1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 - 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Salad greens, spinach, or watercress or arugala

Serves 8
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in a shallow pan.
  2.  Bring the water to a boil and add the bouillon cube.  Stir to dissolve.  Pour enough bouillon in the baking pan to just cover the chicken breasts.  Lay a sheet of cooking parchment or aluminum foil over the chicken to cool in the liquid; then discard the liquid.
  3. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and place them in a large bowl.  Add the grapes, pecans, celery, and chopped dill, and toss well.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream and mayonnaise together.
  5. Toss this into the chicken salad.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  6. Serve on a bed watercress or other salad green, garnished with dill sprigs.

I served this at a party for friends in little "boats" of endive leaves so it could be picked up and eaten as a finger food appetizer.

I've also done this where I carmelized the pecans by cooking them with sugar and just a little bit of salt in a non-stick pan - keep stirring so the sugar doesn't burn.  You can also just toast the pecans quickly in the oven - watch them as the oil in them will go to a burn very quickly.

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