There are two ways to infuse a meat-based salad with flavor: You can stir flavor into the salad and dressing, or you can start with assertive flavors and cook them into the meat. Today’s recipe for Rosemary Chicken Salad is in the latter category.
Rosemary is an aromatic flavor that can overpower the delicate taste of chicken. That is why it is most often paired with pork or beef, both of which can handle its intensity. But by stewing rosemary into the chicken, the resulting salad is infused with the delicious flavor without being overwhelmed.
The recipe makes a large batch, which is perfect for a gathering, a buffet salad course or a picnic. So if you’re planning a Mother’s Day celebration with the family, this will surely please every mom in the crowd.
The salad will keep for up to three days when refrigerated, so leftovers won’t be wasted. Fresh rosemary is the only way to go with this salad, so consider purchasing a plant if you don’t already have one. You’ll spend one-tenth on a whole plant versus a few sprigs from the market, and have a bounty for the future too. Wrap a bow around the base and tell your mom to have a Happy Mother’s Day!
Rosemary Chicken Salad
3 medium sprigs fresh rosemary
3 to 3½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, quartered
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
⅓ cup to ½ cup reserved broth (see note)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup pecans, chopped
1½ cups seedless red grapes, sliced
In a large pot, layer rosemary, chicken and onion. Cover with water and place over high heat. Bring to a boil; cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook 20 minutes, then remove from heat. Chicken can cool up to 2 hours, or you can proceed with the recipe.
When chicken has cooled enough to handle, lift the chicken and onion out of the broth with a slotted spoon. Leave broth and rosemary in pot (see note). Process chicken and onions in a food processor until well shredded. (Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in batches.)
In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and ⅓ cup of broth with salt and pepper. Whisk well. Set aside.
In large serving bowl, toss together chicken, onion, pecans and grapes to mix well. Add dressing and stir to combine. Add up to 2 more tablespoons of broth to adjust texture if necessary. Chill 2 hours or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Note: Remaining strained broth can be frozen for use in soups or stews for up to 3 months.
Makes about 8 cups.
Each ½ cup serving has about 289 calories, 17 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 83 milligrams cholesterol, 25 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 329 milligrams sodium.