Monday, December 19, 2016

A Chicken Salad Recipe to Rule Them All



     When I set out to create a chicken salad recipe it was for an idea I've been tossing around for some time, a sandwich/sub shop modeled after the ones that used to be in every neighborhood of Baltimore when I grew up.  This is not high end food, this is not hipster food, this is not $100 hamburgers.  What this is is just good old fashioned working man's food eaten for lunch or after good time at the local bar.



     Now it's becoming abundantly clear from my last few posts, that Harley Brinsfield is my hero in all of this.  His sub shops were the golden rule that all others had to live by back in the heyday of Baltimore.  It was always said that he knew instinctively what to put on a sub to make it taste awesome.  Thankfully I must be channeling his spirit because in the taste testing for some of the items I am going to sell in my sub shop people are amazed at how good it is.  Sorry, tooting my own horn there for a minute, but trust me, I wouldn't be doing this blog if I wasn't good at cooking and having an ethereal instinct of how to make recipes work well.

     I already did a recipe for Harley's Tuna Salad, but I wanted to follow up with a recipe for chicken salad.  They really are two different things and need to be seasoned differently or the delicate flavor of the chicken is lost in the seasonings.  With tuna salad you can go heavier on the seasonings because tuna has a stronger flavor.  One thing I knew I wanted to do differently was with the base ingredient, the chicken.  99% of sandwich shops use canned chicken which I abhor because 1) It tastes like a can because 2) it's 100% chicken breast.  The flavor of a chicken is in the darker meat so a mix would do better and it really shines through here.  You'll need a little time for this recipe but you can always do other things while the chicken is simmering.

Bawlmer Sub Shop Chicken Salad1

1 Bone in/skin on chicken breast
1 Bone in/skin on chicken thigh

1/2C Mayo
1/3C Pickle Relish
1/4tsp Celery Salt
1/2tsp salt
1/4tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4C red onion minced fine
4 drops tabasco
1T prepared mustard
1/3C bread crumbs2

     In a pot add half an onion, skin off, 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk.  Place chicken on top and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper then cover with a bit more than a quart of water.  Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour until chicken is tender and easily pierced with a fork.  Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool completely.  Strain stock and reserve, will keep up to 1 week in refrigerator or place in Tupperware container and freeze.

     When chicken is cool, remove skin and bones and discard.  Cut chicken into chunks and place in bowl then massage chunks between hands to break it up in small pieces.  Remove any cartilage that you may find and discard.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  At this point the bread crumbs will make the texture strange, don't worry. Place in sealed container and let sit in refrigerator for 2 hours to allow flavors to meld and serve.  Will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

     I did this with average sized chicken parts not the Chernobyl sized ones.  If you're using larger breasts and thighs you will need to add a bit more mayo or it will be dry.

Notes:
     1) Bawlmer is how people from certain parts of the city pronounce Baltimore, often called the Bawlmer accent, hon.

     2) I had people ask about the breadcrumbs in the recipe with the tuna salad and I'm sure they'll ask here.  All sandwich shops do this, it's a food stretcher and to be honest it helps hold the finished product together better than without it.  You can omit them if you wish and add a little less mayo.

   

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