We had some chicken left over from Monday night's bird in hard cider sauce that needed to be put to good use one way or another. Since Tucson's still enjoying 80 degree temperatures, I figured a salad would be quite appropriate even though the Northerner in me's craving a good hot bowl of soup and a snow shovel. (I know...call me crazy!)
We love chicken salad around here as you can gather from the many versions on this site and I enjoy experimenting with different flavors and textures because when you put chicken into a salad, there's no reason on earth not to experiement.
For example, when you've chicken that's been roasted with lemon and thyme, take advantage of the flavors by adding green olives, fresh lemon zest, sundried tomatoes and a fresh basil garnish for a Mediterranean twist. On the other hand if your cooked bird is a smidgen on the bland side, spice it up with a curry mayonnaise, add a little honey, some fresh cantalope balls and a few pecan pieces for added crunch and you've created something memorable.
In this case because the chicken was cooked in hard cider with onions and garlic, it made sense to take advantage of the autumn flavors. Beginning with sweet onion and celery, I added some diced Granny Smith apple and a handful of dried cranberries to the chunked up chicken and devised a dressing from mayonnaise, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. So far so good, right?
My plan was to enhance the texture by adding a handful of toasted walnuts which as you can see, I forgot, as well as some crispy, salty crunchy bacon but the bacon didn't make it either. I burnt it...yup, I did. Five slices of beautiful home cured bacon up in smoke quick as you please. Stinkin' up the house and messin' up the microwave. What can I say. When I fail, I fail big.
Autumn Chicken Salad (an original from JBug’s Kitchen)
3 cups leftover roasted chicken, cut into chunks
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 large Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into half inch pieces
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
Toss together chicken, onion, celery, cranberries and apple. Season well with salt and coarse ground black pepper. In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar until smooth. Pour over salad and toss well to coat. Garnish with crumbled bacon and toasted walnuts. Makes 4 servings.
A year ago - Mango Chicken Curry
Two year's ago - Pasta Salad with Green Olivada