This ain’t your grandma’s chicken salad

Dear Home Ec 101:

What’s the best way to cook chicken if you are going to use it in chicken salad? The only ways I know how to cook it- baked, roasted, grilled- don’t seem right for that kind of use.

Thanks!

~ Cluckin’ Clueless

Heather says:

I use each of the methods you list for chicken salad. Ivy uses canned chicken, it can be found near the tuna. Chicken for salad can be either cubed or shredded, it is only a matter of personal preference.

If I had to guess, I believe the crux of your dilemma may be that the seasonings you chose while cooking chicken for the initial meal are hard to translate into your vision of chicken salad. It would be hard to see a spicy Cajun rubbbed chicken as a traditional ice cream scoop blob-o-salad found in many cafeterias. You aren’t restricted to your great-grandma’s recipe. Take the basic chicken + binder (mayo or cream cheese) + fruit or vegetables and change the seasonings to complement the flavor of chicken you have on hand. Let your imagination run wild when choosing your spices and extras for your version. Several months ago I posted a recipe for chicken salad. This one works well with lightly seasoned cooked chicken and especially well with lemon pepper or herbed versions. If I had leftover blackened chicken I would skip the apples and raisins, opting for carrots for crunch and perhaps blue cheese for a complimentary flavor. If I had a chicken with an Asian flair, I would substitute cream cheese for the mayo, water chestnuts for crunch, add a bit of toasted sesame seeds, and perhaps some chopped snow peas.

Have fun experimenting.

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Comments

  1. what a great blog. i have a feeling i will be visiting this blog more. i cannot cook. i burn water. :(

  2. If I know I want to make chicken salad with the leftovers and I’m cooking a highly seasoned or sauced chicken, I throw in a few extra pieces to bake or boil and I season them only with salt and perhaps pepper. That way I have some to use the next day without having to scrape Apricot-Wine sauce off of them!

  3. I boil my chicken for chicken salad (for about 45 min). I just made a yummy curry chicken salad this week (yum!).
    I don’t boil it with any spices, I just add them to the salad. It is very yummy (did I say that already?)

    bonnie

  4. I put a whole chicken in a crock pot and forget about it…..when it’s done I let it cool and it easily remove the bones…..use 1/2 for chicken and noodles the other 1/2 for chicken salad……easy…easy …easy and cheep…cheep
    Pam

  5. I didn't learn much from my mother but hope you can help me a lot.I keep looking for cooking blogs and forums to become a better cook.

  6. Southern Charm says:

    I find roasting the chicken breast with skin on then taking the meat off the bones makes a very flavorful chicken salad. I season with either saltand peper or with lemon pepper