Confession: I don't really like fried chicken!
In making that bold statement, I think I might be risking my right to proclaim myself a Southerner.
It's true, though, and I can deny it no longer. The stuff is messy, there's usually not much meat to eat, and there are sharp little bones involved. I'd much rather just eat a baked, grilled, or even poached piece of chicken, please and thank you very much. I'm comfortable saying this to you because I've recently tasted what has been lauded as some of the best fried chicken in North Carolina, and I simply wasn't impressed. My boyfriend and I even had some left from our meal, and at his request, I set out to make some chicken salad with the remains*.
*As I mentioned, this fried chicken just wasn't very meaty when all the bones were removed, so I had to supplement with some poached chicken breast. You do what you gotta do.
Since this was intended to be for my honey's lunches during the week, I made it to suit his tastes. He prefers to have fewer ingredients involved rather than a huge mixture of add-ins muddying up the flavor and texture sensations. It took some convincing, but he ultimately allowed me to add some herbs and nuts. The recipe below is what I made for him, though feel free to add more or different herbs, green onions, bacon bits, dried cranberries, or anything else you think sounds delicious.
Bonus: Since I used day-old fried chicken to make this chicken salad, I can honestly say that it was the best fried chicken I ever ate. Don't take away my Southerner Card just yet.
Straightforward, Simple, and Spectacular Chicken Salad
Makes 3-4 servings
- 2 cups shredded chicken, whether poached, fried, baked, or grilled
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cups grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- 1/4-1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill or tarragon (I like dill, my arguably better half likes tarragon)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place your shredded chicken, chopped celery, halved grapes, and toasted almonds in a mixing bowl.
In another bowl, mix mayonnaise, sour cream, 1/4 cup milk (you can always add more later but you can't take it out), sugar, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper.
Taste the dressing and adjust seasonings and consistency accordingly, adding hot sauce if you feel so inclined.
Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and stir gently until everything is thoroughly mixed.
Allow the salad to chill for several hours before serving.