A few days ago we ended up with some leftover rotisserie chicken after dinner, and that night I began to
obsess over think about what I could make with it. Then the idea came to me: curried chicken salad. I love curried chicken salad. The first time I had it, I was a teenager, and I was with my friend Stephanie. We were in the Central West End: a very hip neighborhood in St. Louis. We were hanging out with Stephanie’s dad, who knew where all the cool places were. It may have been on this same occasion that he took us to a Rolls Royce dealership to look at fancy cars. Do you like my plaid pants?
I remember that first bite of that curried chicken salad distinctly, because I wondered how something that was supposed to be a deli item for lunch could taste like a dessert. And I didn’t like things like chicken salad. And I didn’t like mayonnaise. But I did like this. Very much. And it was served on a croissant. Need I say more?
So here is how to make this salad at home. It is so easy. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken. And it is so delicious that you might not want to share it with anyone at all. Hide it in the back of your fridge and nobody will know.
Curried Chicken Salad
- 3 cups cooked chicken breast meat, torn into small pieces
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced apple
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (7 minutes in a 350° oven), coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
- 1/4 cup good quality mayonnaise (Hellmann’s, for example)
- 1 tablespoon mild curry powder (or more if you like)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar or honey
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the celery, apples, raisins, and toasted walnuts with the chicken.
Mix the brown sugar and curry powder with the yogurt and mayonnaise (you can make this with just mayonnaise, or just plain yogurt… I like the mix) to make the dressing.
Combine the dressing with the salad ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. The flavors in this salad meld and mellow after a day in the fridge, but you might just have to eat it right away. It’s that good.
Serve on a bed of lettuce.
Or of course, on a croissant.