Tuesday, June 17, 2014

smoked chicken salad

Of all the various "chop this up and add mayonnaise" "salads," egg salad is the only one I grew up liking. Tuna salad in particular I just can't stand, and all the other "salads" are too often made gloppy with too much mayonnaise. I never order them out.

But I love chicken salad if I make it myself.

I probably started making it because I love to roast a chicken, and that leads to leftovers. Plus, in Indiana, my butcher used to sell smoked chickens, which made some pretty amazing sandwiches. Of course, now I have a stovetop smoker. To smoke your own chicken (with non-crispy skin, I'm afraid), butterfly it, put it in a stovetop smoker for about an hour, and finish it by putting the smoker in the oven for another 30-40 minutes. (It seems to cook too slowly if you cook it entirely on the stove, which means a dried-out breast.)


One smoked chicken, bones and skin and tendons removed, torn into bite-size pieces.
Mayonnaise. Duke's preferably, Blue Plate is fine, Yankees will probably have to resort to Hellmanns. I am a fanatic about Duke's. It has no sugar or other sweetener, which is really key. It's like the opposite of Miracle Whip.
Tony Chachere's seasoning mix.
3 hard-boiled eggs.
The greens from one or two bunches of radishes, depending on how big they are.
A little onion, green onion, or pickled ramp.

Wash the greens very thoroughly, drop them in boiling water for thirty seconds, plunge them in ice water, and squeeze all the water out of them - when they seem dry, wrap them in paper towels and squeeze again. Chop finely, wrap in paper towels AGAIN, and squeeze again. You don't want watery chicken salad!

Chop hard-boiled eggs and onion.

Now add everything together, and use only as much mayonnaise as it takes to get the egg and chicken to stick together. No more! It's like macerating strawberries in a little sugar, versus suspending them in jelly.

Watercress can be great in there too, or a couple chopped radishes.

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