Hey, What’s Cookin’?
I was looking through the paper (The Hartford Courant) last week and spied a recipe that I thought was worth bringing to your attention; chicken salad. Now, not just any chicken salad, but chicken salad without mayo! I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of no-mayo chicken salad, so I was intrigued. This salad uses poaching liquid (basically, chicken stock) along with herbs and condiments, to make a flavorful dressing.
Chicken salad is such a staple; it’s easy to whip up, very transportable (although it does need refrigeration in all forms!) and makes a great lunch or lighter dinner. What keeps it from being m.e.l.t.-worthy is all that mayo. Sure, you can (and should!) successfully substitute plain Greek yogurt for the mayo. But the following recipe is a great change of pace from ALL creamy salads, and I think it’s worth a try! Why not cook up a batch of no-mayo chicken salad for the week, and let me know what you think?
No-Mayo Chicken Salad
From Linda Guica and Christopher Prosperi via the Hartford Courant
- 5 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless (can substitute 3-4 chicken breasts)
- 1 quart water
- 3 garlic cloves, whole
- 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbs Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup reserve poaching liquid
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper; to taste
- 1 English cucumber, quartered, and sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 2 heads of romaine lettuce, sliced into fine shreds
- Put chicken and garlic cloves in a 3-quart pot and cover with 1 quart of water. Bring to a simmer (bubbles reach the surface but do not break it) and cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove chicken to a cutting board to cool & drain. Measure 1 cup of poaching liquid and set aside. Spoon out the garlic cloves and reserve.
- To a blender, add the poached garlic cloves, parsley, mustard, vinegar, and the cup of poaching liquid. Blend thoroughly. Taste the dressing and add salt & pepper. Set aside.
- Using paper towels, mop up the drained liquid on the cutting board. Chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks, and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, celery, and tomatoes and mix well. Pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the dressing over salad and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Serve salad over shredded romaine lettuce. Store all leftovers (salad, dressing, and shredded romaine) in covered containers in the refrigerator.
- For all you meal-preppers–this would make a great, easy lunch! If you want to keep the romaine fresh and crunchy, simply pack it in a zippered baggie, separate from the container of salad.
- Poaching the garlic cloves with the chicken softens the flavor of the garlic so it’s not too assertive in the dressing.
- As always, the vegetables can be adjusted to your personal likes/dislikes.
Photograph via Christopher Prosperi & the Hartford Courant