My two regular readers are asking themselves, “What’s he talking about? Is he turning this into a food blog?”
No, I’m not. But a writer’s got to eat.
My wife and I get to wanting some chicken salad every now and then. She likes hers simple: chopped chicken, and mayonnaise. I like a little more flavor and such in mine, so I add a few things. The kids have raved about the last couple of batches I’ve made, and Oldest Daughter plans to move out soon, so I thought it would be nice to write down the recipe for her. Then I thought if I’m going to write down the recipe for her, I might as well share it with the rest of the world, right?
You know what the first problem was?
Figuring out the recipe.
When I make it, I work by sight and taste. I know about how much mayo to put in: just about that much, so it looks just right to my eye. It’s the same way with the pickle relish and everything else I add. A pinch of this. A dash of that. Just enough of the other thing to get the flavor going.
Usually I can knock out a batch of chicken salad in about ten minutes. Today’s batch took me almost half an hour, because I had to measure everything, write it down, go back and change the recipe because I needed to add something else…you get the idea.
At any rate, here’s Bob’s World-Famous Chicken Salad Recipe. Feel free to modify it to your own tastes. That’s the best thing about stuff like this: it’s really hard to screw up.
- 3 cans chopped chicken, drained
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ cup pickle relish, drained well
- 2 Tablespoons mustard
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- Drain the chicken well. You’ll be picking up a lot of moisture from the mayo and the relish, so you want the chicken well drained. I also chop it up a little in the mixing bowl using an upside-down chicken can.
- Add the mayonnaise, and mix the two well. I use a fork because it tends to rend the chicken a little bit more.
- Add the rest of the ingredients in whatever order you like. You can’t get this wrong. I add one ingredient at a time, and mix it all up after each one.
- Chill it in the fridge. I can’t tell you how long this keeps, because it only lasts a few days in our house. Granted, we’ve got nine people here, so that might have something to do with it.
I use onion powder, but if you like onions a lot, you can just as easily dice up a couple of slices. I’d guess no more than ¼ cup of onions that way. I’ve also occasionally used dried minced onions, and that’s worked well.
I tend to use sweet relish, but I picked up dill relish one time, and didn’t hate it.
I’ve done a batch with sweet relish and Dijon mustard, which I really liked. The kids didn’t seem to notice the difference, though.
I know quite a few people will use celery to add some crunch and volume to the mixture, but I’ve never really cared for celery like that, although I have added some celery seed on occasion.