WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Skip the bread and serve this on lettuce leaves for a dressier presentation.
This recipe is easier if you do the prep work ahead. The chicken, eggs and celery may be refrigerated, covered, up to 24 hours before mixing everything together.
Our friend Julie Realon did this when she tested it for us to include in Desperation Entertaining. She did everything ahead except stirring it together.
“The next morning I finished and packed it up to take to a football game picnic lunch. I’m sure we had the best tailgate food anywhere near the stadium.”
Old-Fashioned Southern Chicken Salad
SERVES 8 – START TO FINISH: 40 minutes
2 to 2 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 large eggs
3 to 4 ribs celery (for 2 cups diced)
1¼ cups sweet pickle cubes with juice*
1 cup real mayonnaise
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Place chicken in a 4½-quart Dutch oven or soup pot. Add just enough cold tap water to cover it. Place eggs in a 2-quart or larger saucepan and add enough cold tap water just to cover them. Cover both pots and bring to a boil over high heat.
When eggs come to a boil, uncover the pot and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 20 minutes or up to 1 hour.
When chicken boils, immediately remove from the heat and let pot stand, covered, 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Immediately remove chicken from pot. Discard broth or reserve for another use.
While chicken and eggs stand, rinse and dry celery. Cut into ¼-inch dice.
Fit a food processor with the steel blade and process each breast 1 at a time: Cut each breast into 4 pieces, and process about 5 seconds, then pulse the motor about 3 to 4 more times just until the breast is shredded but not finely ground. As each breast is finished, pour the meat into a 3-quart or larger bowl.
Peel eggs and place in the same processor bowl and pulse on and off 3 to 5 times or until eggs resemble coarse crumbs. (Don’t go too far or you’ll have a paste.) Add eggs to bowl with chicken.
Add celery, sweet pickle, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Stir very well until all chicken is coated with mayonnaise. Serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 24 hours.
* Cooking Notes: Sweet pickle cubes are also sometimes called salad cubes and also sweet pickle relish.
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