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Chicken Salad for Baby Shower

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I will be making chicken salad for party of 50. I will using chicken breasts for the salad. I have done two test runs on new recipes and was not pleased. I will be incorporating dried cranberries and pecans into my salad. First question, should I use green onions or red onion? Secondly, I want to make night before baby shower, how to do I keep from looking dry the day of?
post #2 of 28

What aspects were you not happy with?

 

I poach skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or tenders) for my chicken salad.

Cold Water, Salt, Chicken.  High heat. Depending on volume of water to quantity of chicken, by the time it comes to a boil, the chicken could be cooked, so check before it gets to that point.  Stir somewhat frequently -    especially early on - to keep the pieces from cooking together and making larger blocks.

Shock in ice water to prevent continued cooking.  Drain and pat dry.  Dice/Chop.

You should be able to assemble a day or 2 ahead of time with no issues - unless you try to be extremely skimpy on the mayo.

Red onions vs. scallions is completely a personal preference issue, but with the pecans and cranberries you're using, I'd go with scallions - using the white and green.

post #3 of 28

Green or red onion?  Neither.  Couple of problems.  Both are too strong on the breath for what's primarily a woman's event.  Stay away from anything with a tendency to promote gas.   

 

Go with shallots AND chives.  Mince the shallots and chives fine.  Reserve some minced chives and a few long ones as well for garnish. 

 

How to refresh?  Make the dressing with all ingredients other than the chicken, the night before.  When you mix the chicken with the dressing; under-dress slightly, reserving the remainder of the dressing.  Just before service, mix in the reserved dressing.  Garnish the rim(s) of the serving bowl(s) and top of the salad with the reserved chives. 

 

BDL

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post #4 of 28

700

 

Scallion, chives and / or shallot and chives, wise idea. This salad is a 1953 recipe from The Jubilee or Coronation Chicken Salad served by Le Cordon Bleu for the Inauguration of Queen Elizabeth II. It is quite lovely and could be updated and served & plated visually differently ... however, it has a bit of curry, and homemade mayonnaise ...

 

Have a lovely event.

 

Margaux Cintrano.

post #5 of 28

If possible use chives they are milder. Cranberry and chopped pecan good combo. Try adding a littel powdered granulated garlic to chicken salads. I believe it helps the flavor. You may want to plump the raisins first (soaking them in boiling water a little while)

 

There are many variations  Chinese chick salad, Indian curried style, Hawiann style, fruited style, Waldorf style and on and on. Made right they are all good.  I know many people use breast, I use breast and thigh mixed as it is not as dry. T stop fro drying out simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap, an don't put out a long time before they eat if it is buffett style

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

I use breast and thigh mixed as it is not as dry. 

Wouldn't that just give you a combination of moist thigh meat and dry breast meat?

It's quite possible to cook white meat correctly.

post #7 of 28

Yuo do yor way, I do mine Thats what makes America great.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chef for responding,  I will try out the scallions vs. red onion!  My first chicken salad recipe called for tarragon, I didn't care for the taste! I have 2 weeks to get my chicken salad perfected! LOL

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

Great tip on how to refresh my chicken salad!  That was one of my concern's, especially because my husband 'the food critic", said it was dry!  Thanks Chef . . .

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks Margcata for the photo and history -  from "deep in the heart of texas."

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chef for your suggestions!  It will be Buffet style and will definitely cover with plastic wrap to preserve freshness!

post #12 of 28

Big LOL w/ ChefEdB.    Great suggestion BDL, I concur

 

400

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #13 of 28

On a side note for future reference, one can blanch onion slices to take out some of the roughness that raw onions can bring to salads.  Hmm, trying to remember, but the last time I did it I blanched for 30 - 45 seconds or so, I know it wasn't very long.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #14 of 28

On buffet presentations of salads made with mayo, sometime a thin layer of mayo is  put on top of the salad on the presentation platter and then slightly garnished this stops air from penatrating the actual salad itself (almost like a chaud-froid topping) This is also done with potato salad,tuna, egg etc.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks Chef for your response, I will use this technique (I looked up meaning & pronunciation

"show-frwah") in the future!

post #16 of 28

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefDave11 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

I use breast and thigh mixed as it is not as dry. 

Wouldn't that just give you a combination of moist thigh meat and dry breast meat?

It's quite possible to cook white meat correctly.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Yuo do yor way, I do mine Thats what makes America great.

 

I was just trying to understand your method behind the madness, is all.  You implied that breast meat is dry and thigh meat is not. 

post #17 of 28

No matter how you cook or undercook it breast meat is more dry then thigh. Thigh meat contains a higher fat content therefor more moist. when you mix the 2 in the salad they all hit the mouth at one time therefore more moisture is present.

Also a lot of places advertise all white meat chicken. but in fact for years the people who raise the birds have been trying to get the dark meat lighter in color and have succeeded. If you look at a Perdue bird for example the dark meat is almost white. Thighs are also less costly. Calorie wise darker meat contains more then white per ounce.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #18 of 28

cooking chicken breasts so they are not not dry and tasteless certainly can be done and is done by many...poaching it or marinating it before baking, baking in a small amount of chicken stock(kinda poaching), baking at not too high a temp...all work

no red onions, at least not raw ones.....not even scallions unless you are doing a curried chicken salad.......i agree with bdl's method for dressing...dress, and redress the next day...if you've ever made potato salad you know how the food absorbs the mayo...same thing.....and of course the flavor is better if made the day before...even a day and a half or 2...other things to add.... raisins, walnuts rather pecans, apples, celery....and perhaps a bit of sour cream added to the mayo to take the mayo-y flavor out...most women don't like mayo...i know i don't.....yogurt is a nice substitute, especially a greek yogurt.....

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #19 of 28

Sour cream, yogurt etc works in potato salad but most people are used to traditional chicken salad. Problem with mayo is people tend to put to much. It really is only supposed to be used as a binder to hold everything together.  Also try adding a bit of chopped chutney to your chicken salad, it adds just the right amount of counterbalance to the mayo.  Potato salad will absorb far more moisture then chicken salad.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #20 of 28

IMHO the chicken should be seasoned (salt and pepper) and coated with a generous amt of oil then roasted (leave the bone and skin on), when ready to use pull the still moist & juicy meat off the bone and skin and toss the discards into my "save for stock" freezer container.

Long sentence, no?

Then proceed with the salad in which ever way you have decided on.

My personal fave is green grapes (halved) and honey roasted pecans.

Or sliced and toasted almonds.

The onions I soak for a bit to remove that nasty acidic flavor (prefer Texas 1015's as can skip this step).

Simple dressing of homemade mayo with salt and pepper (generous amt fresh ground pepper) and finely chopped herb of your choice.

I like BDL's tip about the dressing "seal", makes perfect sense.


Edited by flipflopgirl - 8/7/12 at 6:43am
post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

Wow, great insight into the "world of chefs", I can see why cooking is considered an art!!!

post #22 of 28

Probably not happening for your party, and I don't want to press a particular recipe on you... but I usually pre cook chicken -- whether breasts or leg quarters for chicken salad, enchiladas, pot-pie, "curries," etc., on the outdoor charcoal grill or in the smoker. 

 

Also, if you are cooking dry (as opposed to poaching or some other wet method), you can brine.  For these sorts of purposes I usually just add salt to lemonade,  mango-lemonade, or some other cheap, sweet citrus drink (enough to make it taste BAD), or salt, sugar and hot sauce to buttermilk.  If you do brine, remember that you've put a lot of salt into the chicken so you want to be careful with salt for the rest of the process.

 

Don't forget to taste and adjust for salt (and pepper) as you go.

 

Brining gives you a little extra leeway in terms of keeping the chicken moist and tender, but only a little.  Be careful not to overcook.  As soon as the chicken is opaque throughout it's done.  Try not to let it go any farther. 

 

Under seasoning and overcooking are the two most common mortal sins of the home cook. 

 

BDL

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post #23 of 28

Excellent advise, BDL!

I mainly use this technique for my Tday bird, but should think ahead more often and toss the Sunday roast yard cluck in one on Saturday.

Note to self.....

post #24 of 28

Once again ... YOU GO!!!   BDL!

 

 

Quote:
[brineing] ... or salt, sugar and hot sauce to buttermilk.

 

This is what I do for my fantastic, better than everyone else's, off the reservation chx wings.  The salts of my choice are 50/50 kosher or sea and celery salt; along with some other stuff (Weber's Kickin' Chicken Seasonings)

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 

Kudos to all Chefs for your suggestions on chicken salad for baby shower! It came out "delish!" First of all, when cooking the chicken breasts, I added peppercorns, garlic clove and white cooking wine to salted water. I made plain chicken salad with celery and chives, and I chose to add chives to my cranberry/walnut (toasted) salad,as well.  The chives gave it the "kick" that I wanted without overpowering all the other flavors.  I added curry powder, salt and pepper to my mayo. I prepared the chicken salad the day before and used the "dress & redress technique," on the day of shower. My daughter was very pleased with the food and buffet presentation . . . all the hard work was worth it, just to see her smile!  Thanks for your help couldn't have done it with out y'all! That's you all!chef.gif

post #26 of 28

That's fantastic news, and congratulations on your impending grandchild :)

 

BDL, I resent your comments regarding raw onion at a "women's event."  I quite like the taste of raw scallion, even raw red onion in small amounts.  If it's not ok to eat it at a party then when is it ok to eat? 

 

Growing up my mother used to eat raw onion or garlic with every meal.  She'd have a whole clove or a large slice of onion sitting on a little plate next to her main plate and occasionally take a little bite of the raw creature.  I don't do it myself but I hate the idea of not being able to eat some raw onion just cause we're women!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #27 of 28
It's a matter of opinion.

I would never serve raw onions at a "woman's event" be it a shower (baby or bridal) . A hint to enhance the flavor of a dish, yes.
The last thing I would want to do is overpower the food with any garlic or raw onions.
Everything has a place.
IMHO if someone wants to indulge in it at home with friends and family , that's one thing, but not when entertaining clients or guests.

I am the first one to slice up a Spanish onion .....all depending the appropriate occasion.

Petals.

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post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by petalsandcoco View Post

It's a matter of opinion.
I would never serve raw onions at a "woman's event" be it a shower (baby or bridal) . A hint to enhance the flavor of a dish, yes.
The last thing I would want to do is overpower the food with any garlic or raw onions.
Everything has a place.
IMHO if someone wants to indulge in it at home with friends and family , that's one thing, but not when entertaining clients or guests.
I am the first one to slice up a Spanish onion .....all depending the appropriate occasion.
Petals.

 

Must be a greek thing then.  If you don't slice onion into a greek person's salad they would find it insulting lol. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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