Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Secret to Mayree's Chicken Salad: Home Made Mayo

This isn't your mama's or grannie's chicken salad (I bet theirs is good!).  It doesn't have eggs or dry mustard or grapes of any color or water chestnuts.  It's my chicken salad with chicken, finely diced celery, pickles, chopped roasted pecans and homemade mayonnaise. That's it, that's all there is to it.

I like to season the chicken very well so it tastes like chicken and not like tuna.  Have you ever eaten someone's chicken salad and thought it was tuna?  Tuna salad is fine but chicken salad that tastes like it is naaaasty.  Lots of folks down here keep all the ingredients except the meat the same between the two sandwich fillings...not something this limited palate enjoys.

Season the chicken with your favorite flavors.  Season it VERY well.

The Pig has boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale this week for $1.18 a pound!  This is one package, a little over five pounds.

I generously use all the seasonings in that photo up there to coat the chicken.  I do that in the sink, by the way.  I'm kinda sorta germophobic.  Chicken can be a major carrier of microbes.  I like to sanitize the sink with bleach before AND after using it.  I don't feel like I can get a container of any sort clean enough to kill all the cooties that might be present in it or on the chicken.  I season all the meats in a sanitized sink.  That's just me and Ben saying:  An ounce of precaution is worth a pound of cure.

Life is easier if you plow around the stumps.  Make it so:  line the pan.

Cover and bake however fast or slow you want to.  These are boneless skinless breasts, they'll bake quickly without getting tough.  I covered the chicken with foil and baked at 400 F. for forty minutes (or so).
My oven bakes 'slow,' meaning it's approximately 
twenty-five degrees cooler than the thermostat.

That's the chicken started.  Time to assemble everything else:
Lots of celery, Wickles (wickedly delicious pickles), 
and pecans (at least a cup).

Chop the pecans in your handy dandy pecan chopper like mine.

Put in something oven proof and throw in the oven to roast.

Finely dice celery.
This is four cups of diced celery.  There are no big honkin' chunks,
just delightful little explosive crunches of flavor and texture.

Drain and chop Wickles.  I'm out of home made sweet pickles or I'd use them.  Say no to sweet pickle relish.  It's just not the same.  It's better to not use any pickles at all than to confound the flavors with all that sweet syrupy mustard-seedy funky stuff.
 Wickles are sweet with a nice bite.  I didn't use any black pepper seasoning
the chicken because I knew I was using these.  I didn't use peppercorns
in the mayo for the same reason.  They're spicy!
That's a little more than one cup of diced Wickles.

Are you checking FB and texting and talking?  Did you check the chicken and pecans in the oven?  I did.  They're done.

It's mayonnaise time while these are cooling.
That's apple cider vinegar in the blue wine bottle.  When you're making mayo 
for salads I highly recommend it.  The flavor it gives to the mayo is incredible 
- for salads, that is.  I do not want a tomato sandwich 
made with it, come summer.

The ingredients are a cup of each kind of oil, a slim teaspoon of salt, a packed teaspoon of roasted garlic, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and two very small medium eggs.
You can make it with all one kind of oil but I like this half and half 
combination.  The the two medium eggs are very small.  It'd only take one of 
Perlena's Peculiar Hennie eggs.

I make it in the CuisinArt.  It's very easy!
Those are the eggs well processed and the apple cider vinegar
about to be added.
Vinegar is incorporated and roasted garlic and salt are next.
I like to use roasted garlic in it.  You can use fresh garlic to kick up the flavor
a couple of notches but dispose of it within a couple of days.  Fresh garlic has a low pH;
it doesn't keep well.
Almost there!  Slowly...


That's a little over two cups of home made roasted garlic mayo!

Watch!  I'm going to show you the secret to a wonderful texture for chicken for salad.
 Cut the chicken in chunks that will go through the feeder tube on you food processor.
 Turn the machine on...
 And let gravity do the rest!
 None of it is any thicker than 4 mm.  It's almost perfectly shredded!
 Add the pecans and chicken to celery and Wickles.
 Add mayo and stir to combine.  It's not a super creamy
kind of chicken salad.
 It's crunchy with celery and pecans.  The pecans are unexpected and, being roasted,
lend an incredible bent to the flavor.  And the apple cider vinegar will have you
looking for apples in it, too!

Y'all enjoy!


  1. Yummy, yummy, YUMMY!

    1. You're too good to me, Chris! Try it my way once to say you've done it and then customize the salad and mayo to your own palate. It'll spoil you quick! By the way - you're the first 'reply' to a comment, kind of fitting and apt somehow... Have a great Sunday!

  2. I love the simplicity of your chicken salad. Less is more. That's the way I make mine, too! And.....roasting the chicken instead of boiling the tarnation out of it definitely the way to go.