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    Hot Chicken Salad

    Source of Recipe

    From "The Southern Sympathy Cookbook" by Perre Coleman Magness

    Recipe Introduction

    "Sometimes, during periods of grief or stress, what is needed is comfort. No need for bold, unique flavors or technical preparations, just good, solid comfort food. Enter the hot chicken salad. The stalwart of ladies, luncheons, and church parties, this is the classic casserole no one can resist. I can resist, however, the canned condensed soup called for in most recipes. Instead, I make a simple cream sauce to thicken up the mix. Now, you could go more elegant with the topping, using buttered breadcrumbs or leaving it off altogether, but the classic crushed potato chips do create a salty crunch that makes this dish special."

    List of Ingredients

    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    2 Tbsp unsalted butter
    3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    cup chicken broth
    cup heavy cream
    Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    1 cup slivered almonds
    2 cups finely diced celery (about 5 or 6 large stalks)
    cup finely diced shallot (about 2 shallots)
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup mayonnaise
    2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
    1 pound sharp white Cheddar, grated, divided
    1 cup crushed plain potato chips (such as Ruffles)


    Preheat the oven to 350F.
    Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. The internal temperature should register 165F on a meat thermometer. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, dice it into small pieces and place them in a large bowl.

    Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan, then whisk in the flour until a smooth paste forms. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes to cook out the floury taste. Pour in the chicken broth and stir until it bubbles and any lumps of flour have disappeared. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to come to room temperature.

    Toast the almonds in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned and nutty-smelling. Add to the chicken in the bowl. (You can skip the toasting and add the nuts plain, but this step does add a lovely layer of flavor.) Add the diced celery and shallots to the bowl and toss everything to combine. Add the cream sauce, sour cream, mayonnaise, and lemon juice and stir until everything is combined and well mixed. Stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese, a teaspoon of salt, and generous grinds of black pepper and stir to combine.

    Spread the mixture in a well-greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, then sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese evenly over the top. Spread the crushed potato chips evenly over the cheese. The casserole can be made up to this point, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

    When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350F.
    Remove the casserole from the fridge while the oven is heating, then bake until hot through and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

    Serves 6 to 8




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