I am terrible when it comes to gift giving! Personally I do not like to give "stuff", but treasures created by me or someone I know (like the gorgeous cards over at Pendrops Couture). So when a dear friend was celebrating her birthday earlier this month I decided something homemade would be just my style. So I checked to see what I had on hand and along with two packs of frozen chicken breasts from Triple L Ranch I had all the necessary ingredients to make my favorite chicken salad. After it was made I packaged it up in a mason jar, wrapped that up with a jar of my homemade apple butter and filled a larger mason jar with beautiful sunflowers. The combination made a cheerful, October birthday gift!
Below is a rough recipe for this salad (when it comes to cooking I rarely measure, it's all done by sight and taste) with a few photos. Enjoy!
4 large bone in chicken breasts
2 -3 lemons, quartered
3 - 4 celery stalks, with leaves, cut in half
2 yellow onions, quartered
Place onions, celery and lemons into a 7 qt crock pot. Add about 1/2 cup water. Place chicken breasts on top and season with a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Cover and turn on high for one hour. Turn down heat to low and cook until the meat falls off the bone (check after five additional hours and go from there). Remove cooked chicken to a baking sheet or equivalent with sides. Strain broth into a glass container (you will only use a little of this broth for the chicken salad, cover the left overs and freeze or refrigerate to use in another dish). Let the meat rest about five minutes. Remove skin and discard. Remove meat from the bones and add to a food processor. (This is optional. You can shred the meat with two forks if you prefer larger chunks. If you like smaller pieces use a food processor). Once all the chicken is shredded add to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients below.
16 oz Greek Yogurt (or Tahini)
broth left over from the cooked chicken
2 - 3 Tbls fresh lemon juice (optional)
3 - 4 green onions, finely sliced
red grapes, seeded and halved (as many as you want)
3 - 4 celery stalks, chopped
sea salt and black pepper
poppy seeds (about 2 Tbls)
Add the yogurt (or Tahini) to the shredded chicken and mix well. Add reserved broth 1/4 cup at a time until it achieves the consistency you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in onions, grapes, celery, pecans. Sprinkle in poppy seeds. This makes a lot of chicken salad, I'd say approximately 8 cups. I served it to my family as pictured below. Boston lettuce leaf, diced avocado and chicken salad on top. Enjoy!