Monday, February 22, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

So, here is my first cooking post -- and yes, I realize how unglamorous a chicken salad is but believe me, it's a very versatile and useful dish. Especially for someone who gave up microwaves for Lent and therefore needs a lunch dish that is a little more grown up than the usual peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Enter chicken salad. This Southern girl knows her chicken salad but was hesitant to make her own because of her fear it wouldn't live up to the smoothness of H & W Drugs' legendary salad or the richness of the chicken salad at Heidi's Deli in DC (Chicken Salad Thursday's, hollaaaa!) . . . but I digress. This dish is a little chunkier. A little heartier. A little more wintery, if you will. And is sure to make lunchtime at work a little more satisfying.

Stuffings -- celery, cranberry, shallots.

Toasted walnuts. This wouldn't fly for four-year-old MJ. 26-year-old MJ appreciates the nutrients.

Lunch tomorrow. Chicken Salad Tuesday, hollaaaaa!

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
From Smitten Kitchen -- For those of you who do not know my obsession with this blog, it is the reason for my endeavor into the food blogging world. I started following it about three years ago and have been hooked ever since. Who wouldn't love Deb's honesty and her love for all things New York and all foods delicious. Obviously I need to work on my creativity and getting my hands on a better camera but this is my homage to Smitten Kitchen and all the deliciousness she brings into my life in the form of this, this, this and now this.

4 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 pounds or three fairly large chicken breasts)
1 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
1 cup diced celery (small bits)*
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used fat free mayo, it still tasted great)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (the recipe called for tarragon vinegar, champagne or white wine vinegar; not having any, I used apple cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon (I used dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.

*Not being too much of a celery fan, I thought it was a little too celery-ish. I would reduce this a bit the next time I made it.

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