Picnic Classic Revisted: Curried Chicken Salad
Yes, I like to pretend I am vegetarian. Mostly. But this is not strictly true, as I’ve hinted here before. And what I am about to post will make this clear. Below is my favorite chicken-salad recipe. Uh-oh. Cat’s out of the bag now. It is true. While we don’t eat a lot of meat in our house it is not banned from it, but, if I am going to eat it, it needs to be delicious. And this is.
I’ve been working on finding a special chicken salad recipe for a couple years as it is a great high tea recipe, and do like one I have that uses thyme and slivered almonds, but I have to say, if I’m going to be eating it, I’ve finally found one that actually makes me happy to taste it as I prep it.
I struck upon this when prepping for the tea I helped my friend Lara throw, and it got compliments all around. I kind of smushed together a recipe from epicurious and one from Ina Garten’s Family Style cookbook, taking parts I liked best from each, and ignoring things that seemed too time intensive. I have to say, I find more “go to,” basic, but good, recipes in Ina’s cookbooks than almost anyone else–nothing fancy, but good flavor all the way–and her chicken salad recipe didn’t disappoint. Secret ingredient? Major Grey’s Mango Chutney. (btw: if you want to make your own Major Grey’s this recipe at Mother’s Kitchen looks excellent. I bought mine at the store. It was this one, but there are many brands.)
Last week I had been hoping to make Lemon & Oregano Chicken from Tessa Kiros, but with our days filling up with family fun, it started to look like we needed to use the chicken or risk losing it. I roasted it in the evening and then passed on the rest of the work to my husband. We brought the chicken salad to an extended family picnic on Father’s Day (served simply with sliced bread), and then we ate the leftovers as a perfect summer dinner for the next two days with nothing more than lettuce and wheat bread. It doesn’t need anything more (except maybe a tomato, but those aren’t quite ready here yet), because everything is already in it.
Curried Chicken Salad
I left out the raisins, red seedless grapes, and cashews called for in both the recipes I worked from, but if you were going to serve this on lettuce as a salad, I think they would be excellent additions.
1 whole roasted chicken (or cooked chicken breasts), cooled
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I think I had Greek yogurt on hand)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
¼ c. Major Grey’s chutney
3 tbsp. curry powder
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
1 c. medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
¼ c. chopped scallions, white and green parts (2)
1/2- 1 red onion, chopped
Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice chicken in large bite-size pieces. Because we were serving this on sandwiches, we shredded it using two forks.
For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise through pepper. Use a whisk or blend in a food processor.
Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, onions, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.