I want my chicken salad to be light and tasty, and mayo based chicken salad is just heavy and too greasy, at least to me. I've run across a couple of good restaurant versions, and after a few years, here's the recipe I developed that got the best of each of those versions.
For some people, this recipe may be too light...for me it screams light spring/summer fare, and is lower in fat than comparable recipes. I love it! The addition of Craisins, at least to me, was the perfect finishing touch, helping to break up the savory flavors with some tart sweetness. It's fantastic. It's the -
Here's what I do (I'm sharing with you a recipe that took me YEARS to perfect to my liking!).
Note: I use a food processor to make mine - you certainly don't have to. I fought the food processor trend for years, until I had kids and asked for one to make baby food. After making baby food, I moved on to soups...and it is fantastic to be done chopping and slicing vegetables so quickly. I'm happy to have it, though it can be a pain to clean all the parts. Anyway, if you don't have a food processor, finely chop the celery, onion, and dill, and shred the chicken with your fingers or with a pair of forks.
Spring Chicken Salad
1 whole rotisserie chicken (you can use 3-4 parboiled chicken breasts instead)
1/3 of a yellow onion, coarsely chopped (easier for the food processor)- I like red onions as garnish, but to me, yellow onions belong in salads - tuna and chicken. :)
salt and fresh ground pepper
lemon juice (2-4 Tablespoons)
mayo (if desired, replace 1/4 c of the yogurt) - makes it richer...if the salad is a little dry in the end (more chicken than usual) I usually add a good squirt of mayo to even it out.
Craisins (1/2c to 1c, to taste)
To Make it:1. First off, tear all the meat off the rotisserie chicken, and set aside in a bowl.
2. Take about 1/2 of the chicken and run through the food processor. It's important to pulse the processor, unless you want chicken paste. I found if you use the dough blade, you almost shred the chicken, and it's a great consistency. Move the shredded chicken to a bowl, and repeat with the other half of the chicken.
3. When the chicken is all shredded, pour 2-4 Tablespoons of lemon juice on top of it, and stir it all together. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
4. Finely process the onion and celery in the food processor. I pretty much puree mine, since my kids don't notice either unless they taste big chunks of them. I can't blame them, I hate to get a big bite of onion.
5. In another bowl, mix the dressing ingredients - the yogurt, mayo (if using), sour cream (if using), dill, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a bit of ground black pepper.
6. Remove the bowl of chicken from the fridge, and add the onion, celery, and Craisins. Stir well to mix. Add the dressing and stir until evenly mixed.
You can serve it in so many ways - I like to put it on a bed of lettuce as a salad, use it as a cracker spread, make sandwiches on croissants...I don't think there's a wrong way to eat it.
Today I treated myself to some croissants - they're something I never buy, but that buttery richness is perfect with the chicken salad. That, and last seasons homemade pickles on the side. Heaven.
Have a great evening!