Friday, June 25, 2010

The Most Delicious Chicken Salad

Many chefs have what they believe to be the best chicken salad technique.  The debate for the perfect way to keep that bird nice and moist is ongoing.  Most think that roasting a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast is the only way to keep it moist.  This is certainly a good option, but just too much trouble for me when I am looking for a faster, not-so-messy route.

Alas, I found an incredible way to cook chicken for chicken salad without all the trouble.  Not only does this chicken come out moist and juicy, but full of fantastic flavor!  This recipe would be great served at a shower or fancy lunch on a bed of lettuce leafs.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can mix it up however you'd like: add dried apricots or fresh grapes instead of raisins, omit the celery or apple, swap out the pecans for walnuts or pine nuts...

Sara's Chicken Salad
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 green apple, diced
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Pour broth around the chicken. Bake the chicken until no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 160°F, 20-25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board until cool enough to handle, then cut into cubes.

Meanwhile, spread the diced pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden and fragrant, about 6-8 minutes.  Let cool.

Stir sour cream, mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add celery, apple, raisins, the chicken and pecans; stir to coat.  Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.


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