Chicken salad is always a good way to use up leftovers, especially if you’ve just made chicken stock. A lot of the ingredients I use to add flavor to the simmering stock–onion, celery, celery leaves, parsley, thyme–go into the salad as well, so when I’m getting the ingredients for the stock I know I’ll have them for the salad as well. A bonus is that the chicken is moist and flavorful after simmering for a few hours.
Chicken salad, however, is one of those recipes which is easily varied depending on who’s making it and what they have on hand. Tarragon, for example, is a classic match for chicken–just don’t overdo it, unless you like your salad to taste like grass. Celery leaves are optional just because they can be a bit tricky to get–most packaged celery have the outer ribs trimmed so that there aren’t a lot of visible leaves, so I just pull the ribs apart far enough to rip out some of the inner leaves. (Lovage is a good substitute, but it’s a bit stronger, so cut back a little.)
I use just enough mayonnaise for the ingredients to hold together, and I add the salt afterwards, since the amount needed really depends on the mayo–the last batch I made needed no additional salt at all.
- 3-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves optional
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 cup good mayonnaise
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Mix together chicken, onion, celery, parsley, celery leaves, and thyme.
Stir in mayonnaise gradually until the ingredients come together.
Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and, if necessary, a little salt.
Refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight) before serving to let the flavors meld.
Recipe NotesUse a good mayonnaise, such as Hellman's. Your choice of maynonnaise (or, if you must, salad dressing) will affect the seasoning, so be careful with adding salt.