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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Odd Chicken Salad/Sandwich

Made ya think, didn't I? What is "odd" about this recipe? (Or, rather, what's more odd than usual about this recipe? heh)

Ever wonder what to do with odd chicken parts? The way I learned to cut up a chicken from my mom and both grandmothers (who all did it in pretty much the same way), I'm usually left holding some pieces with notalotta meat and a whole heckuva lotta bones: the neck, a coupla different pieces of the back; you know, a lotta trouble for a little meat.

Mother's solution was to save all these "extras" in the freezer, then, every now and then, pull out a bagful and boil up some chicken stock, then assign one of us kids to bone the necks and backs—really dig out all the tiny lil pieces of meat, which could then be used in making chicken soups, chicken and dumplings, casseroles, chicken salad/sandwich spread, etc.

Well, that still works, but I prefer using my pressure cooker.

Bottom of prssure cooker: odd ends of onions, carrots, celery, etc. (odd ends and pieces frozen and saved for making stock, etc.—you do do that, don't you? :-).Maybe some garlic and other herbs or spices to your taste. Dump in "odd" chicken parts. A lil salt and lotsa freshly ground pepper. Maybe a half cuppa water. Cook under high pressure for about 10 minutes, then remove from heat and run cold water over the pressure cooker to depressurize it. Remove the chicken and store in the fridge to cool. Strain and store the stock in the fridge. (You can easily skim the fat off later if that's a concern.)

When the chicken's cooled in the fridge, take it out and debone it. (Why do "debone" and "bone" mean the same thing? Is it like "flammable" and "inflammable"? I am soooo confused!)

Now, you can make one of my fav sandwich spreads. And it's sooooo easy you'll not begrudge all the drudgery of getting enough freshly-cooked, juicy chicken by cooking and deboning necks and backs and unmentionables, oh my!

Ingredients only: no amounts. (This is what makes it sooo good—no matter what I say here, you'll feel completely free to take this as a skeletal framework and fill in as you wish. :-)

  • Chicken, boned, in small pieces
  • Mayo
  • Sweet pickle relish
  • Celery, diced finely
  • Celery seed (soak ahead of time if you're not going to let the chicken spread come together for a few hours before using it)
  • Minced onion
  • Freshly-ground pepper
  • Shredded carrots
  • MAYBE some fresh dill weed, if ya have it (but probably best added as sprigs to sadnwiches when made).

Combine all the stuff above in proportions that suit your taste and then cover the resultant (oh so good) mess and store it in the fridge for a few hours.

Variations/additional ingredient suggestions:

halved grapes
cooked, crumbled bacon
shredded cheese (If you do this, consider NOT using the mayo and adding enough cheese to make a grilled chicken salad sandwich work! Great in one of those lil hot sandwich presses.)

Bread, leaf lettuce and spread. A good sammich, eh?

Get creative with this and let me know how it goes, eh?