This is not the best chicken salad you will ever eat. For that, you must be invited to my parents’ house for lunch some Sunday so you can taste the real deal, straight from my mom’s kitchen.
This is my approximation of her chicken salad, based on her recipe. It’s good, but my mom’s is slap-me-silly good. It’s so good my family will often sit around and talk about how good it is.
Chicken salad has a reputation as “chick food,” but I’ve never seen a man not crumble when he tried my mom’s. Brad might have married me based on the merits of my mother’s chicken salad. He likes it so much that he made an exception to our “no mayonnaise in the house ever” rule and had me make it from scratch to make this salad. And if you know anything about Brad and his eating rules, you know he doesn’t break them for just anything. This salad is that good. Or at least my mom’s is.
(trying to be) my mom’s chicken salad
makes about 4 cups
There is more flavor in this chicken salad than there is tapped-out melancholy in Miss Havisham’s sitting room. My mom serves this on croissants because she loves me with an everlasting love. If she’s just serving it to women, she’ll add halved grapes and craisins, which is insanely delicious but something guys are universally against, in my experience. Most of the seasoning is to taste, so play with it.
2 to 3 lbs. chicken (we use the shredded chicken leftover from making bone broth, or follow the directions below to cook)
1 to 1-1/2 cups chopped celery
2 green onions, finely diced
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried sage
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
If using raw chicken, melt coconut oil in a large saute pan. Add chicken. Sprinkle (or splash) with remaining chicken ingredients. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side until deliciously browned and cooked through (this will vary wildly depending on your cut of chicken. Make sure it’s still moist or my dad will complain when you feed it to him). Cut into cubes. If using leftover cooked chicken, increase the amount of dressing spices you use.
Add chicken to a bowl and combine with all dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
Chill for at least two hours before serving. Serve as a sandwich with sourdough (Brad’s choice) or over lettuce as a salad (mine. I know…who am I?) or on a croissant (my mom’s bring-you-to-your-knees version).