We rarely ate chicken salad growing up. My mother’s style was Eastern European, and I think chicken salad is more American.
Chicken salad, though, has solved a problem for me. We like roast chicken, but most of my family prefers dark meat. Leftover roast chicken breast can be used in casseroles or stir fries, but it really doesn’t have much flavor.
So here’s how I solve the problem. I cut up whole chickens, which are cheapest. I roast the thighs, legs, wings and as much breast as I think the family will eat at one meal. Then I take the rest of the breasts and cook them in water for half an hour or so. I take them out the meat and put them on a plate to cool.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, I remove the meat and replace the bones in the soup for another half hour. You can also add vegetables at this point, but many prefer the pure taste of chicken in recipes calling for broth.
The chicken breast can be used for a variety of recipes, but since it tends to dry out I prefer not to heat it again. So here’s a chicken salad I made recently. The pickled ginger garlic was a gift from Yosefa.
Chicken Salad with Ginger, Garlic, Basil and Green Onions
- Meat from one large cooked chicken breast, cut in bite-size pieces
- ½ cup basil, chopped
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- 1 scallion, chopped, or 2 tablespoons of chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic pickled in ginger, chopped finely.
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasonings. It will keep a couple of days in the refrigerator.
For a lower-fat version, omit the mayonnaise and increase the lemon juice and vinegar.
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