A good chicken salad can be the backbone of many meals, and it's conveniently built from just a few pantry staples. Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman's version from The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home is a simple version, but made with deliberate care. Tender white meat chicken is poached in an onion broth before being shredded and tossed with celery, mayo, horseradish, and plenty of black pepper. In their cookbook, it gets piled high on their "diet" salad (recipe coming tomorrow), but it'd make a mean sandwich on two thick slices of bread.
Why I picked this recipe: Chicken salad is a great staple to have in your back pocket, and the backbone of the recipe can be applied to just about any leftover poultry.
What worked: The horseradish does wonders for lightening up the creamy salad—don't skip it.
What didn't: No problems here!
Suggested tweaks: There's no reason why you couldn't adapt this to make use of Thanksgiving turkey.
Reprinted with permission from The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home by Nick Zukin and Michael Zusman. Copyright 2013. Published by Andrews McMeel. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 medium yellow or white onion, minced
- 2 celery stalks with leaves, leaves chopped and ribs cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 small lemon
Place the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover the chicken by 2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons of the salt. Measure 2 tablespoons of the onion to the pan with the chicken. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and is no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the cooked chicken breasts under cold water until cool to the touch, then pat dry with paper towels.
Shred the chicken and place it in a large bowl. Add the reserved minced onion along with the celery and celery leaves. Toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, horseradish, if using, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the lemon juice. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken until thoroughly mixed.
Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The chicken salad can be made up to 3 days in advance.