08 July 2013

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

I know this is stating the obvious, but summer is here and in full swing.  It's hot.  One day last week I drove past one of those time and temperature signs that showed 109°.  I know for a fact that the sign reads about five degrees hotter than it actually is, but just seeing that number is enough the make me want to scurry inside and sit in the air conditioning for the next two months.  In honor (or maybe because) of the heat I am going to do some posts this week that don't require turning on the oven.  No need to add the the oppression.

the summer does bring the chance for the kiddos to swim.  my mother in law sent me this great picture last week of sam enjoying the pool in her back yard.
 One great thing about food in the summer is the color.  Since you can get your hands on so many fresh veggies and herbs, the food is just so....pretty.  I went out of my way with the chicken salad to not only lighten it up, but to also try to pack in as many colors and flavors as I could.  I love some decent chicken salad every now and then.  I put the emphasis on the word decent, though, because so much chicken salad is canned chicken with a ton of mayo mixed in.  You might get some celery, too , but most chicken salad is pretty flavorless and unimaginative.  I love me some mayo, but mayo alone does not a decent salad make.  This chicken salad is not even in the same league as those boring ones.  It's something entirely different.  One great thing about this salad is that you can customize it to your liking -- substitute the raisins for dried cranberries, leave out the pickle relish, add some celery.  Do what you want and make it your own.  You won't be disappointed.  The one favor I must ask of you is to leave in the tarragon.  You can use more or less, but the tarragon is really what kicked my tail in this dish.  Chicken and tarragon naturally pair together beautifully and the combination really is magical.  Really.

I did use one really huge shortcut for this -- a store bought rotisserie chicken.  They can really be your best friend in the summer.  They are usually pretty flavorful, moist, and just plain ol' tasty.  They're also really affordable.  It's a good trick to remember if you need some chicken and don't want to have the oven on for the hour or longer it takes to roast your own.  Sometimes you can get flavored rotisserie chickens, like lemon pepper or garlic, and those are quite delicious in this salad, too.

summer on a plate.  isn't it pretty

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

1 whole rotisserie chicken
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp chopped pimientos
1/3 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried tarragon leaves
2 Tbsp chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp hot sauce (I used chipotle hot sauce)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Remove the chicken meat from the bones, shred the meat coarsely, and put into a large bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a covered container and chill for at least 2 hours before serving to chill completely and allow the flavors to combine.

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