Chicken salad comes in all shapes and sizes, from chunky to smooth, savory to sweet. They're all good in my book, but one of my favorite styles is this simple, smooth chicken salad. This non-lettuce salad is great between bread or on top of a big pile of lightly dressed greens.
Chicken tenderloins are seasoned and cooked down with onions and a little broth, making for a flavorful, juicy base for your chicken salad. After a quick spin in the food processor, the chopped chicken gets tossed with more seasonings, minced celery, some of that delicious pan broth and classic creamy mayo.
We're using chicken tenderloins, not only because we happened to have them in the fridge, but smaller pieces mean they cook faster...and the faster they cook, the quicker you'll be eating! If you're working with chicken breasts, you can either cut them down or let 'em cook a little longer. (Pssst...a store-bought Rotisserie Chicken will work for the busy folks, too! Just skip that whole chicken cooking portion.)
The first thing you'll want to do is heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a large saucepan on medium/high heat. Add all of the chicken pieces tightly together in the pan. Don't worry about overcrowding! Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. each of salt, black pepper, garlic powder & paprika and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Flip all the pieces over and add in half of a diced, yellow onion and 1/4 cup chicken broth. Cover and let it go for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let those tenders start to cool down.
After a few minutes, the chicken should be cool enough to work with. By sending it for a spin in the food processor, you'll end up with tiny shreds of chicken that can soak up all kinds of deliciousness! Pulse the chicken (and onions!), working in phases if you have to. Move the mixture over to a large bowl and add about 1/2 cup of the broth from the pan.
Now that the chicken is all chopped-n-juicy, mix in a couple stalks of minced celery, 3/4 cup of mayo, about 1/4 tsp. more of the salt, black pepper, garlic powder & paprika (you can add more or less to taste). I like to finish it off with 1/2 tsp. celery salt and at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator to tighten up and chill out!
You'll end up with a creamy chicken salad that has almost a smooth pâté texture to it. Simple, classic, and oh-so delicious.
And no worries! If you like a chunkier chicken salad, skip the food processor and chop it up to the texture you like!
Thanks for Chewsing!