Classic Chicken Salad

 

6 cups water or low sodium vegetable broth

3 large celery stalks, divided

1 onion, peeled and cut into 4 pieces

1/8 teaspoon pepper, plus additional to taste

1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (see recipe note)

3/4 cup toasted pecan pieces (recipe follow)

3/4 cup red grapes, cut in half

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (optional)

1/3 cup light or regular mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

 

Add water or broth to a medium pot. Cut two celery stalks into four pieces, add to pot along with onion pieces and pepper, to taste. Add chicken breasts, bring water or broth to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked and no longer pink inside. Once cooked, remove chicken to a plate, chill in refrigerator while making rest of salad.

Chop remaining two stalks celery into small pieces, add to large bowl. Add pecans, grapes and dill. Add mayonnaise and mustard.

Remove chilled chicken from the refrigerator and shred into small pieces, adding it to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.

Mix until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Salad tastes even better when it has time to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Note: You may use leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken and skip to step 2.

Toasted Pecans

2 cups raw pecan halves

2 teaspoons olive oil or pecan oil

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place pecans on a baking sheet, bake 15 minutes then remove from oven.

In a heat proof bowl, toss warm pecans with olive oil and sea salt, crush larger salt grains with your fingers as you sprinkle.

Return pecans to the tray in a single layer, bake another 20 minutes or until slightly browned and dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet.

Store pecans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to nine months or in the freezer for up to two years. Pecans can be thawed and frozen repeatedly during the two-year freezing period without loss of flavor or texture.

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