First, let’s get something straight. The Goddess loves chicken salad. She’s never met one she didn’t like, except for that one with chocolate chips in it. It turns out that chocolate doesn’t make everything taste better! She originally made this in December, but other things seemed more pertinent so she didn’t post it. But it’s chicken salad, which in her book is timeless. This could be called “Almost Spring Chicken Salad”, but she decided to leave the title as was.
When she makes chicken salad, she thinks about a few things—what flavors does she feel like eating, what’s seasonal and what does she have in the house? This is what evolved from those thoughts into today’s iteration of her favorite. It included some dried cranberries, currants and crystallized ginger, along with some tangerine zest and the tangerine itself. The dressing is a mixture of mayo, Greek-style yogurt and a small bit of Dijon mustard…it’s a bit lighter and the yogurt and mustard provide a bit of a bite. It was garnished with some chile threads—that’s what those little “hairs” on top are. They have a bit of heat and let’s face it, they just look great. Feel free to change this recipe as you would like and don’t be shy with the freshly ground black pepper.
Winter Wonderland Chicken Salad
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3-1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
- 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 4 scallions, chopped (include some of the green)
- 1 celery rib, finely diced
- 1 smallish carrot, finely shredded (about 4 inches long)
- 1/3-1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2-3 tablespoons dried currants
- 2-3 tablespoons very finely diced crystallized ginger
- Grated zest of a tangerine
- 1 tangerine, peeled, seeded and diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pear, diced (optional)
- 1 apple, diced (optional)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
- 1/3 cup chopped dates or dried apricots (optional)
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- 1/3 cup toasted pecans (optional)
- 1/3 cup crumbled bacon (optional)
- 1/3 cup green or red seedless grapes, halved (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, basil, chervil, cilantro—optional)
Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard; set aside. Toss all the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl; add the mayonnaise mixture and toss until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. Use within 3 days of preparing; store in the refrigerator. This makes a great sandwich filling, as well as an appetizer smeared on a cracker with some cranberry sauce or chutney. See, it’s timeless.
Winter Wonderland Chicken Salad Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
In this particular version, I didn’t use any of the optional items, because that’s not what I was feeling like having. I have used all of those on different occasions and they are delicious. Also, feel free to change the proportions or omit ingredients I’ve given to suit your own taste. Remember, a recipe is only a guide line, not the 10 Commandments, chiseled in stone!
This is a great way to use up leftover turkey and chicken or purchase a supermarket broasted chicken just for this. The Goddess usually cooks extra chicken, just to make chicken salad. Chicken salad can be a very pretty salad. It can be a sandwich filling, but it’s great on its own, too. You can pour it into a casserole, top with crushed potato chips and bake until it’s bubbly and warmed through. My mother used to make Hot Chicken Salad. I loved it, too. She would pretty much make it this way, but she added a can of Cream of Celery soup…it was good.The Goddess likes this so much, for breakfast she rolled some into a flour tortilla with some cucumber and tomato slices. And life is good. If you are a more normal person, it can be served on a roll and is excellent smeared on a crostini with a dollop of cranberry sauce on top…it makes a stellar Christmas appetizer.