My husband is a big fan of chicken salad and considers himself a bit of a connoisseur on the subject, given that whenever he’s in the States and chicken salad is on the menu he orders it and proceeds to give a rating out of ten. Deli style chicken salads aren’t as much an institution here in Australia so he often gets cravings for an honest to goodness deli chicken salad, complete with kosher dill pickle and potato chips. It was his birthday recently so for lunch I made up a batch of chicken salad and I’m pleased to say it passed muster. I like to roast the chicken breast, which I buy on the bone and with the skin on, in the oven. Roasting rather than poaching the chicken produces a much moister breast with great flavour, especially if it’s been cooked on the bone. Once the chicken has cooled I remove the bones and skin and cut the chicken into large dice. This is such a delicious salad and something that’s great to have in the fridge for this time of year when unexpected people pop by or you need a quick snack/lunch. It’s good on it’s own but makes awesome sandwiches too.
Ingredients – Enough for 6-8 generous servings & refrigerates well
4 large chicken breasts, with bone and skin
1 cup best quality real egg mayonnaise, I use Helmans
¼ cup lite sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 spring onions, white and green part finely sliced
1⁄3 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 180C. Place the chicken breasts on a baking tray and season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 -35 minutes. Leave aside to cool. Place the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, dijon mustard, vinegar and a generous pinch of black pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt if required. Stir in the celery, spring onions and tarragon. When the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bone and discard the skin.
Cut the chicken into large dice, depending on how chunky you like your chicken salad. I normally cut them into 1-2cm dice. Put the diced chicken back into the tray they were baked in and stir them around in the juices that have accumulated in the pan, this gives great flavour and makes the chicken even moister. Add the chicken to the mayonnaise mixture and gently stir through. Taste again for seasoning and adjust with more, salt, pepper or lemon juice. The salad tastes best when it has had time to sit in the fridge for about an hour.