I created this recipe when we lived in El Paso with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Because I am not really a big fan of leftover turkey. And there was so much of it. And I really did not want to eat it. But I really don’t like throwing away perfectly good food. (Good as in “not spoiled”, as opposed to “tasty”.) I still make it with turkey occasionally. But we eat rotisserie chicken more often than turkey, so this is now the expected fate of all of our rotisserie chickens.
Over the years, I’ve made this for family, friends, boys’ girlfriends, and it is always a big hit. Well, not so much for Sam because he’s not fond of mayo-based salads, but everyone else is very enthusiastic in their appreciation. My father-in-law is pretty crazy about it.
People always seem surprised by the flavor, as if it is not what they expected a chicken salad to taste like, so I’ve had to explain the preparation a lot. Since we had rotisserie chicken Friday night, I decided this recipe would make for the perfect next post.
What makes this salad different? Sour cream, fresh basil and parsley, and briny olives. I’ve used kalamata olives before, but I think I prefer the green olives most of the time. Just don’t use canned olives because they have absolutely no flavor punch. You’ll know what I mean once you taste the finished product.
I substituted sour cream for some of the mayo the first time I made this because even though I love mayo-based salads, sometimes the taste of the mayonnaise really comes through and kinda ruins it for me. I want the chicken salad to be moist and creamy, but not too greasy and egg-y. The sour cream solved that problem very nicely.
I have a little thing for Mrs. Dash Table Blend. I put it in a lot of stuff. I love both the combination of seasonings in the Table Blend and that Mrs. Dash let’s me decide how much salt I like by letting me add it myself. As of this writing, my blog is self-funded, so I’m not benefiting from my love of this beautiful blend of spices other than from it’s wonderful flavor.
I pinned down the measurements for you in the recipe below, but this is a dish made from leftovers. And the amount of leftover chicken will vary each time, right? So use the recipe as more of a proportion guide.
In order to determine how much of the other ingredients to use, dice your chicken first. Remove any skin (I know it’s good, but it’s a health and texture thing). Make sure to dice the chicken really small or you may end up with a big, dry chunk of white meat that will taste like it didn’t benefit from the dressing. Once you know how much diced chicken you have, calculate how much of the other stuff you need to add.
Dice your onion and olives a little smaller than your chicken. I don’t think people always appreciate that having a bunch of different ingredients that are not like-sized bouncing around in your mouth sort of throws things out of kilter. Just ask the judges on Chopped (the Food Channel show). They bring it up all the time. And I listen.
By the way, you probably know this already, but don’t chop the basil like you do the parsley. Basil is a bit of an herbal prima donna. It’s really sensitive and bruises really easily. If you just go chop, chop, chop with your big ol’ knife, it will look all squishy and mangled. Instead, stack your leaves and with a sharp knife, slice the stack into little slivers. You can cross cut the slivers with that same sharp knife to make the pieces smaller.
Once you have chopped everything and placed it in the prep bowl, add the mayo, sour cream and the seasonings, except for the salt. You want to mix everything so that the components are evenly distributed and equally coated with the mayo and sour cream before adding the salt. Then add it a bit at a time, stir and taste before adding more. A salty chicken salad will have you drinking water all day long. Actually, you should drink water all day long because it is really good for you, but you don’t want to do it because you are suffering from thirsty salty-mouth.
Refrigerate the salad for at least an hour so those flavors get used to living together in perfect harmony and because I like my chicken salad to be chilled in my sandwich.
I prepared this recipe right after I woke up this morning. As soon as this picture was taken, Steve polished this baby off for his breakfast.
And by the way, like a soup, it will taste better the next day and the day after. Enjoy!
Lori's Chicken Salad
- 3 cups diced cooked chicken
- 3/4 cup diced sweet onion
- 1/2 cup diced green olives
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
- 6 tablespoons sour cream
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Dice chicken into very small pieces.
- Dice onion and olives to slightly smaller pieces than the chicken.
- Mix all of the ingredients except the salt in a bowl large enough to both accommodate the volume and with room to spare for stirring and mixing.
- Stir until components are evenly distributed
- Add salt a pinch at a time, stirring to distribute between additions and tasting before adding more.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to set.
- Makes enough filling for 4-6 sandwiches, depending on size.