Chicken Salad from Scratch

Chicken Salad from Scratch

I love me some chicken salad, but all too often it’s a crap shoot when you buy it from a deli or a supermarket counter. How long ago was it made? Will there be too much or, worse yet, not enough mayonnaise? Which parts of a chicken are even in this salad? While making fresh chicken salad from scratch is not the speediest of processes, if you find yourself with some extra time on your hands this summer I would absolutely recommend it! An added bonus is that you can strain and reserve the liquid that the chicken boiled in for homemade stock.

Chicken Salad from Scratch
Serves: 5-8
  • 1 whole chicken, skin on and giblet removed
  • 3 whole stalks + 1 cup chopped celery, divided
  • 1 large carrot, un-peeled
  • 2 scallions
  • Bouquet garni (a small bunch of fresh rosemary, oregano and thyme tied together with cooking twine)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon old bay seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1½ tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  1. Bring a 12-quart pot of water up to a boil on high heat. Drop in the whole chicken, as well as the celery stalks, carrot, scallions, bouquet garni, bay leaf, garlic powder, old bay, Kosher salt, black pepper and olive oil. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water back to a boil. Once water is boiling again, let the chicken cook for 10 minutes, then off the heat and let the chicken sit in the pot for at least 20 minutes. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot with tongs and let drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle. Strain and reserve the liquid that the chicken boiled in for homemade stock to be used in a future recipe.
  2. Meanwhile, add a shallow amount of water and ¼ cup of the stock that the chicken boiled in to another pot over medium heat and bring up to a simmer. Peel back the chicken’s skin and remove as much of both the white and dark meat as possible in small chunks. Discard the carcass and transfer the chicken pieces to a steamer basket. Place the basket in the simmering pot and let the chicken steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the steamer basket, move to a medium sized bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, chopped celery and dried cranberries, mix with a large fork until ingredients are evenly combined and the chicken is mostly shredded. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.

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