One of our mantras is "do the simple things, but do them really well." There's nothing fancy about this chicken salad recipe, but boy is it good. We started offering a chicken salad sandwich in our shops because we couldn't find one in NYC that we really loved. If we found one at all. Perhaps the chicken salad sandwich was deemed too basic by some. But that's ok by us. Done right, it's a true treat. And we think this recipe is doing it right.
We served this on very lightly toasted multigrain bread with a small handful of spinach or arugula. It's also great to serve the chicken salad over greens for a healthy and hearty salad. Add some halved cherry tomatoes too. Or you can do what many customers who found our secret menu did - put a scoop of chicken salad on top of our Kale Salad for a super bright and satisfying salad.
A great bonus of this recipe? A byproduct is delicious, golden chicken stock that you can use in future soups!
1 whole chicken, approximately 4-5lbs
1 cup Celery, sliced thin
1/2 cup Pickled Red Onion, chopped
3/4 cup Dried Cranberry
1 Lemons, juiced and zested
1.5 cups Mayo
Salt and pepper
1. Place chicken in stock pot and add water until the chicken is just covered. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Once simmering, lower heat to low, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes. This will poach the chicken gently but thoroughly, and you are also concurrently making chicken stock.
2. Using tongs, carefully remove the chicken. When lifting, be sure to hold the chicken over the pot to make no boiling stock is in the cavity of the bird. Then set the chicken aside to cool.
3. Strain the stock into a clean pot.
4. Once cool enough to handle, seperate the chicken meat from the skin, bones, and cartilage. Try to pull the chicken in as large pieces as you can. Dice the larger pieces of chicken into 1/2" chunks. Combine with the smaller pieces of pulled chicken, and season with a good sprinkling of salt and black pepper.
5. In a large bowl, combine the mayo, lemon juice, and lemon zest and stir to incorporate.
6. Add the celery, cranberries, and pickled red onions to the mayo. Use a spatular to fold until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
7. Add chicken and continue to fold until all the chicken pieces are covered with dressing. Add a little mayo if the chicken salad seems too dry. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
1. You can substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream for mayo if you're one of those people that isn't a fan of mayo.
2. This recipe produces a great and clean and simple chicken stock. But you can choose to make the stock more robust if you'd like. Here are some ways to do just that:
- Add a chopped onion, chopped celery stalk, and chopped carrot to the cold water. To take it a step even further, roast those vegetables first and then add to the water.
- Add a teaspoon of black peppercorns and 2 bay leaves to the cold water.
- Once you remove the chicken, allow the stock to continue to simmer. After you've pulled the meat, add the skin, bones, and cartilage back to the pot and simmer for another hour.
- Add any bones you've been saving in the freezer to the cold water.