Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bacon Chipotle Chicken Salad


Printable version
I used to eat chicken salad from a number delis when I lived in New York City. It was a reasonably inexpensive lunch item in a city were everything was expensive. The chicken was always fresh, never canned, which made for a much tastier salad and there was always a gourmet twist depending on which place you got it.

Chicken salad is really basic and it only takes an element or two to turn it into a unique delicious bite.

For this recipe, I used grilled chicken with chipotle and bacon to make a southwestern chicken salad pita. The basic elements of mayonnaise, celery, lemon juice and chicken make for a refreshing sandwich on their own. I enhance the flavors with the edition of bacon, chipotle and fresh tarragon. Any number of ingredients could have taken their place. The key is finding complimentary flavors that work together and adding them to the basic recipe. It’s a great way to enhance a classic, and for me, chicken salad always reminds me of lunches in Central Park.

BEHIND THIS BITE
Years ago, my Mom was visiting me in New York and made a batch of chicken salad from leftover chicken that I had grilled the night before. It tasted so good that I have preferred to make it with grilled chicken ever since. I won’t wait for left over chicken anymore though, I grill up a batch specifically for chicken salads.

I made this as part of a spread for a gathering of 15. It was served with mini bagels for sandwiches. As snack time was winding down I noticed a couple of guys eating it on tortilla chips, I decided to give it a try and I was amazed. I thought it would be good in a soft taco, but after trying the tortilla chips I think this would be great in a crunchy taco with a little lettuce and cheese.

Which ever way it’s eaten it doesn’t matter though, this is a tasty chicken salad that will make for a delicious lunch with or without bread, tortillas or bagels.

Eat well, cook often ...

THE RECIPE
Serves 6; 10 minutes active,
30 minutes resting

3 C Grilled chicken, diced
1 C Mayonnaise
1/2 C Celery diced
8 strips Bacon, cooked, crumbled
1/4 C Chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded, minced
1 Tbs Tarragon, minced
Juice of 1 Lemon
6 to 8 Pitas
Lettuce for garnish

Make chicken salad
In a large bowl mix together, chicken, mayonnaise, celery, bacon, chipotle, tarragon and lemon juice. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Assemble sandwiches

Place a spoonful of chicken salad in a pita, garnish with lettuce, then serve.

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