The thing that I think makes a huge difference, for me, is poaching the chicken. I used to roast my chicken for chicken salad, or pick the meat off a roasted chicken. Poaching makes the chicken really tender and moist.
And save the poaching liquid; it makes a great base for broth/stock, or it’s lovely for cooking rice.
Ingredients:For the salad:
1 pound boneless, skinless (raw) chicken breasts or chicken tenders, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium red onion or “sweet onion” chopped red onion
1 whole apple, cored and chopped (Think Granny Smith or Pippin)
Chopped walnuts (1/3 to 1/2 cup, depending on your preferences
- The original recipe calls for 4 to 6 green olives, pitted and minced; I leave the olives out because my mom is not a fan. She is a fan of nuts, so I added walnuts.
- The original recipe calls for adding shredded lettuce to the salad; lettuce is not something mom can have much of, so I leave it out.
For the dressing:
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Lemon curd
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
- The original recipe calls for plum preserves, or any sweet berry preserve or a lesser amount of honey. I don't have any; I do have some intensely lemony lemon curd, that was not as sweet as most.
- Poach the chicken: Put 2 quarts of salted water in a pot, and bring it to a boil.
- Add the cut chicken breast to the water, and return the water to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and turn off the heat
- Let the chicken sit for 15 minutes at least while you prepare everything else. This is important. Salmonella is a bad thing.
- While you wait for the chicken to finish cooking, mix the mayonnaise, lemon curd, and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Check the flavor; add salt and pepper, and additional lemon curd and/or lemon juice to taste.
- In a large bowl, mix the chopped celery, bell pepper, olives, red onion, and apple.
- Add the dressing to the chopped vegetables.
- After at least 15 minutes, remove the chicken from the poaching water and dice it into smaller pieces as needed.
- Add the chicken to the dressing and vegetables, and mix, coating everything evenly.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.