When Life Hands You Chicken Breast…

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I promised a recipe for the leftover chicken breast from the Chicken Soup recipe, so here it is – my take on my grandmother’s chicken salad, which, as much as I try, will always be better in my heart. The original recipe involved grating all of the veggies, using the chicken breast from making soup and never included bacon salt (wasn’t invented yet), balsamic vinegar or garlic powder (she used minced garlic, which, is too overpowering for this dish). She would have thought it weird that I would be writing a recipe for this, so I am sorry grandma. When I learned to make this from her, she never measured anything and neither have I until this point. It is all about tasting everything until it tastes right (or good, there is no right or wrong on this meal). Nothing that she made came with a recipe, if you wanted to learn to make something she made, it was by being in the kitchen with her and tasting and feeling as you went. Sadly, she passed a few years ago, but fortunately, just about all of her cooking wisdom was passed down to her children and grandchildren. This is also one of Mrs. Iron Chef’s favorites.

Chicken Salad

The Software
1 chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
1 large carrot finely minced
1 large stalk celery, finely minced
2 tablespoon finely minced yellow onion
1 tablespoon bacon salt
1 tablespoons mustard powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons mayo (see note)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (see note)

• Note – when I say tablespoon for the mayo and teaspoon for the mustard, I am not talking about the measurements, I am talking about the spoons you would find in your silverware drawer. I just take 3 big scoops of mayo and 1 big teaspoon of mustard. If I had to guess measurements, 1/2 cup of mayo, 1 1/2 tablespoons (the measurement) of mustard.

The Salad
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, carrot, celery and onion.

The Dressing
This is a salad, so you are making a salad dressing essentially. In a bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, mustard powder, bacon salt, garlic powder and balsamic vinegar. Mix until well incorporated. Taste it. Add any additional seasoning as needed.

The Final Product
Add the dressing and fold using a spatula. Taste it. There should be a subtle hint of heat from the onions and mustard. I usually will add a few grinds of black pepper and, if needed, some salt and fold that in. That is it, you are done. If for some reason you like more dressing, just make some more and add it in. This is pretty potent stuff and you are really looking more to coat everything rather than drown it.

To Serve
Serve it however you want – on a sandwich, salad, or my favorite, just out of the bowl with a spoon.

Final Notes
It took me longer to type this up than it did to make. This dish really shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to put together. You can not add the bacon salt (if you don’t put it in there, you might need to add salt later) if you choose. Of course if you don’t add the bacon salt, you could always add some real crumbled bacon to it, because, frankly, everything is better with bacon. The mustard powder is really essential for the right flavor, but if you don’t have any, and aren’t able to stop what you are doing and run out to get some, double the amount of Dijon. It won’t be the same, but it will still be edible. If you find yellow onions too strong, try substituting sweet or Walla Walla onions or even scallions. At various times, I have added in hot sauce, horse radish, worcestershire sauce, paprika and a bunch of other stuff I am probably forgetting. Feel free to play with your seasonings. Make it taste the way you want – grandma would just be happy that you are eating it.

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