Makings of a Chicken Salad Poboy
Old-Fashioned - that's the only way to make it.Naw. Nothing new about this recipe. Chicken salad's been around in America since, well, Colonist made minced meat out of left-over cooked chicken. Culinary evidence purposes the mentioning of meat salads early in the 19th century from German settlers and by the mid 19th century, primary dishes using finely chopped lobster, ham, mutton and yes, chicken appeared on many family tables. This, of course, correlates with the explosion of household meat choppers that lined every food merchant and domestic mercantile shelf during this time.
Nope. Nothing new about making homemade chicken salad either. My momma did it, your grandmother did it, heck, even Sieur de Bienville cooks made it too. So what makes this chicken salad so special? Did I mention - southern. And, by the way, what makes it southern? Not so much the ingredients although to be really southern it must contain mayo (that's a given), sweet pickles (sweet salad cubes - duh), crunchy veggies (either green onions or sweet vidalias) and it's gotta have hard-boiled eggs (either chopped fine or grated). For any southern recipe, the process of making it is just as important as the ingredients. Time honored traditions run deep in the south and these customs correlate to how we make chicken salad.
Yup. You may have seen this recipe before. It's been around. I posted it way back yonder when I first started blogging about recipes, and foodstuff. And I have made it umpteen times since, yet, have until this time, not taking any photos worth a dime (maybe still not worth a dime). I made it this past weekend to stuff some poboys for lunch, only I cut the ingredients it half as it was just the two of us. So here's the recipe, again and a few photos to look at. Enjoy!
Southern Chicken Salad
A truly fine salad made the old-fashion way - technique is what makes it rightfully southern. It is important that in every bite you get a little savor of all ingredients.
4 to 6 chicken breasts, depending on size
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced green onions or sweet onion
1/2 cup sweet salad cubes or chopped bread and butter pickles
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 to 4 hard boiled eggs -grated
Remove skin and cook chicken in salted simmering water until tender and juices run clear. Tender is the key word, do not overcook. Remove from the broth (save it, you can use it later), allow chicken to cool down and then de-bone and finely chop the meat. You want a little over 6 cups of shredded meat. Add chicken to a mixing bowl, stir in the vegetables along with salad cubes and lemon juice. Mix well.
Make sure the ratio of veggies is good with the chicken. If not, add a little more.
Grate the eggs into the bowl. Stir it all up and add a little salt and pepper to taste. And I mean do taste it and adjust both if needed.
Stir in just enough mayonnaise to moisten, you do no want it overly creamy.
Keep your chicken salad simple. Remember, it's chicken salad. The other ingredients are incorporated with the chicken to moisten, add crunch and create a southern flavor I grew up with. It's my favorite recipe.
Now, to make a Chicken Salad Poboy - the way we do it . . .
In the oven, warm French bread (a good footer for each) or in our case, whole wheat bread until the outside is nice and toasty. Slice in half and pinch out areas from both top and bottom slices. This creates pockets to hold the good stuff. Sometimes we stuff it with fried shrimp or oysters, or thinly slices of roast beef dripping in au jus. Mouth watering!
Butter both sides with a fine layer of mayo if desired (we desire). Fill the bottom half with chicken salad, a lot of it. I bet there's more than a cup there. On the top half, lay thin slices ripe tomatoes (I used some sweet cherries) and a good amount of lettuce. Most folks like to shred it. To me, leaving it in larger strips helps hold it place.
Cut your poboy in half, add chips or fries or whatever your appetite begs and enjoy.