The BEST Chicken Salad Ever. (With Poppyseed Dressing!)

When I was visiting my sister, Liz, in Colorado Springs over Christmas last year (2011), she took me to this adorable little cafe downtown. And introduced me to the best. chicken salad. ever.

I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t sure about the poppyseed dressing. I like my chicken salad with mayo. Always have. And what the heck was up with pimentos? Don’t get me wrong, I love them in olives. Especially in olives in dirty martinis. (Unless those olives have blue cheese stuffed in them instead. Because holy yum. But… that’s a different post for a different day.) So. I was skeptical.
Then I took my first bite.
And my mouth had an orgasm. 

My mouth has the same reaction with my homemade version, shown here!

The cafe didn’t give out the recipe, but through my high powered deduction skills I managed to recreate the deliciousness. (Read: There aren’t many ingredients and they’re simple enough that a five year old could probably figure them out.) I’m sharing it here so I never lose the recipe–and for anyone else searching for chicken salad that’s freaking out of this world.

The things I love about this recipe: Besides that it makes my mouth feel so good. It’s ridiculously easy to make. And there are cheats for every ingredient.
Exhibit A:
(Ignore the onions–don’t know why I bought them, as there are none in my recipe. I mean, you could probably add them though!) 
Everything is pre-made!
Some people might cook their own chicken (in which case, I recommend poaching chicken breasts with bone and in skin, because it cooks the chicken thoroughly while maintaining all it’s moisture), or buy stalks of celery (or hell, maybe even grow it?) or make homemade poppyseed dressing.
NOT ME.
That is not me now. It will most likely never be me. I like shortcuts. I LOVE working with chicken that’s already been cooked whenever I can. Because raw chicken? Um, gross. (Which is funny because Liz blogged about that today, too.) Pre-sliced celery? YES I WILL. Less cutting for me. Yup.
The recipe is so simple I don’t even have real measurements to share.
  • Two rotisserie chickens. I just use the white meat from them. Sometimes I give N the dark meat, but mostly I toss it. Which I DO feel guilty about. But it’s the truth and I don’t want to lie on here.
  • Half a jar of Pimentos–make sure they’re SWEET pimentos. I’ve made them with regular ones before and ew. 
  • Almost an entire jar of Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing. (It doesn’t have to be Brianna’s–I’ve used others and the salad’s turned out fine. But Brianna’s is the best, in my opinion.)
    • When you first pour almost the full bottle on the chicken, you might think it’s way too much–but as it settles in the fridge, some of it soaks in. I’ve tried using less, and the chicken salad’s turned out a little dry.
  • Celery. As much or little as you’d like. If you’re not huge on celery, I still wouldn’t make this without it, because I love the crunch. But that’s just me.
  • Croissant rolls. I like the cheapo ones at my local grocery store (Giant). I’ve tried fancier ones, but they’re all flaky and not fun to eat with the chicken salad.
I slice the celery into tiny pieces. Then shred the chicken by just pulling it apart into bite size pieces. Add everything else and mix with my hands.
And that. is. it. 
So easy!
SO DELICIOUS.
I let it chill for a couple hours before eating any. And I let it sit in the fridge for 3 days-ish before I toss what’s left. Maybe it would stay for longer, but I’m not well-versed in how long food stays good–and after a nasty bout of salmonella last year, I’m not taking any chances.
OH and it makes… um… six or seven servings, if your croissants aren’t huge? Maybe more? It always varies depending on how huge I make my sandwiches. 🙂
~S

And Piper gazed at me through half lidded eyes while I made the chicken salad. The quality of the picture is shit, but I still don’t want to forget it.

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2 thoughts on “The BEST Chicken Salad Ever. (With Poppyseed Dressing!)

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