Wednesday, August 7, 2013

poppy seed chicken salad

We have this tiny cafe in my hometown called Central Perks.
It's right on the square, which is the heart of my little town.
It's in a large building, with antiques and local crafts surrounding the cafe area so you can browse around while you are waiting for your order.
Quaint and cute.
And they serve the best chicken salad ever.

This is not it.

It's really delicious!
I've tried many a chicken salad, hoping to land upon one that suits my tastes.
It took years, but this finally is what I consider perfect, for me.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
Adapted from Food Network
Serves 4.
3 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt
1 large orange
½ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream or low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small red or Granny Smith apple, chopped
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted (or almonds or walnuts...)
¼ cup chopped fresh chives
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup dried apricots, chopped (optional)

Cover the chicken with cold water in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Remove strips of zest from half of the orange with a vegetable peeler and add the zest to the water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 18 minutes. Remove the chicken and let cool.
*You can also use leftover shredded chicken!*
Grate the remaining orange zest and juice the orange into a large bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, celery, apple, nuts, chives, poppy seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Add the apricots, if desired.
Shred the chicken, discarding the bones and skin, and toss with the dressing. 
Serve over lettuce, as a salad, or stuffed into pitas, as a sandwich.  Enjoy!

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