Any self-respecting Southern cook will have a recipe for chicken salad in their arsenal. We can’t host a ladies luncheon, bridal or wedding shower without it. There’s lots of good chicken salad recipes out there. My favorite is Old Fashioned Chicken Salad made the way my Granny did.I do add a little celery to mine for the texture, but other than that, this chicken salad is just like hers.
I started with a 5 pound stewing hen. Now the big difference between Granny’s chicken salad and mine has to do with how we acquired the hen. On occasion, she’d saunter over to Aunt Mary’s house and pick out her hen from Aunt Mary’s backyard flock.
I saunter to Publix and pick one out of the meat case.
There are as many different way to make mayonnaised based chicken salad as there are cooks who make the chicken salad. Sometimes, the salad is more fancy and has added nuts and fruits. I’ve never had chicken salad I don’t like, but, Old Fashioned Chicken Salad suits my taste anytime. It’s familiar and comforting.
Whether you enjoy it on a bed of lettuce, smeared between two pieces of bread, or with saltine crackers, its simplicity makes it a food that you won’t grow tired of eating.
Old Fashioned Chicken Salad will never win a beauty contest. I had to wrestle with it to get it dressed up for a photo shoot. There’s no denying the fact that some of us are just flat-out more photogenic than others.
A big benefit to making this from scratch is that you wind up with homemade chicken stock in addition to a gracious plenty of simple, easy to eat Old Fashioned Chicken Salad. That sounds like a happy day to me.
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Old Fashioned Chicken Salad
yield: a boatload
Stew a hen to make moist flavorful meat and homemade chicken stock all in one whack. For time management, you can stew the hen and make the salad the day before you need it. The amount of ingredients listed for the dressing is simply a jumping off point. Start with the quantities shown, taste, and add more if needed. I usually seem to add more mayonnaise. Store prepared chicken salad in the refrigerator.
stew the hen:
5 pound stewing hen
2 large carrots
2 celery ribs
2 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon pepper
Place hen, breast down, in a large stockpot. Add remaining ingredients and fill stockpot with water. Use a colander insert if you have one for your stochpot. It makes removal of the hen and vegetables much easier.
Cover and place on medium heat.
Bring the pot to boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for one hour or until the hen is good and tender.
Remove hen and vegetables. Discard vegetables.
Set aside hen to cool. As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones.
Shred all the meat.
make the salad:
all the shredded stewed hen meat ( roughly 8 cupfuls)
1 1/2 cups Duke’s mayonnaise
1/2 cups sweet pickle relish with the juice
2 celery ribs, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Place meat in a large mixing bowl.
In a small mixing bowl, mix remaining ingredients to make the dressing.
Add to chicken and mix.
If mixture is too dry, add more mayo.
Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Chill before serving.
Old Fashioned Chicken Salad
- 5 pound stewing hen
- 2 large carrots
- 2 celery ribs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- all the shredded stewed hen meat roughly 8 cupfuls
- 1 1/2 cups Duke's mayonnaise
- 1/2 cups sweet pickle relish with the juice
- 2 celery ribs minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- To stew the hen, place hen, breast down, in a large stockpot. Add remaining ingredients and fill stockpot with water. Use a colander insert if you have one for your stochpot. It makes removal of the hen and vegetables much easier.
- Cover and place on medium heat.
- Bring the pot to boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for one hour or until the hen is good and tender.
- Remove hen and vegetables. Discard vegetables.
- Set aside hen to cool. As soon as it's cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones.
- Shred the meat.
- To make the salad, place meat in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix remaining ingredients to make the dressing.
- Add to chicken and mix.
- If mixture is too dry, add more mayo.
- Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Chill before serving.