Ina Garten’s Chicken Salad

May 17, 2012

Last weekend’s bridal shower was fun and seriously delicious. Between my mom, my cousin, Angela, and myself, we put together a pretty great spread. The shower started at 2 p.m., so we didn’t serve a full meal. Though now that I look back at the photos, we had quite a bit of food. In addition to Ina Garten’s amazing chicken salad, we had a cheese assortment, crackers, fruit, strawberries and whipped cream, and bite-sized desserts, including homemade lemon bars.

The chicken salad recipe was my mom’s idea. Always one to research for hours online until she finds the perfect recipe with great reviews, my mom eventually deemed Ina Garten’s chicken salad the recipe to serve. (It got five stars online!)  And when she arrived at our house on Saturday night, with pre-cooked and chopped chicken in hand and a bag of grapes, I was happy to supply the mayonnaise and fresh tarragon. Teamwork, my friends.

Although chicken salad doesn’t typically cross my lips, I did have to take a bite so I could find out what all the fuss was about. As someone who hates mayonnaise, I was expecting to strongly dislike this salad. But, surprisingly to me, the flavor was spot-on, with a subtle mayonnaise flavor and a freshness thanks to the tarragon. A word to the wise: the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt, which seems like a lot to me. We scaled back the salt a bit, but if you find it’s not enough for you, add a little extra.

This week, Joe has been making his way through all the extra chicken salad for lunch. Thankfully, I’m married to a man who doesn’t mind leftovers and eating the same thing multiple days in a row. (I served spaghetti both Tuesday and Wednesday night this week.) Trust me, meal time and lunches aren’t always that impressive in our house!

Ina Garten’s Chicken Salad
Adapted just slightly from this recipe
*4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves  (2 whole chicken breasts)
*Olive oil
*Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
*1/2 cup good mayonnaise
*1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
*1 cup small diced celery (2 stalks)
*1 cup seedless red grapes, cut in 1/2

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken in a baking pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Set aside until cooled.
* When the chicken is cooled, chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, along with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir until well-combined. Add additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve on bread or with whole wheat crackers.

Happy Cooking!

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  • Reply Sara @my less serious life May 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    yum! i have seen ina make her chicken salad, but haven’t ever tried to re-create it myself. she is the queen of simple, beautiful food.

    • Reply Madison Mayberry May 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Aren’t all of Ina’s recipes amazing? I love how simple they are and they still manage to feel sophisticated.

  • Reply Meghan Splawn May 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I like you, do not love a mayonnaise salad, like at all. But I do love the idea of fruit in a chicken salad and I’d probably add some toasted nuts.

  • Reply Sarah Erickson May 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Eating this for lunch as we speak. 🙂 Kurt, who hates any salads with mayonnaise, loves this one!

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