Traditional Southern Chicken Salad, with two 'secret' ingredients - hard boiled eggs and sweet pickle cubes. Creamy and comforting!
Please note, this post was originally published in June, 2012. It is being republished today in honor of my dear sweet friend Glenda, from whom I learned this recipe. Glenda recently passed away, and is now shining her bright smile down on all her many loved ones from heaven. I miss her every day.
Until recently, I had absolutely no idea how to make traditional chicken salad. Ya know, the creamy, almost-totally-smooth, completely comforting down-home type of chicken salad. The chunky tarragon type? Yes. Curried? Yes. Chunky fruit-and-nut? Yes. Regular ol' basic creamy chicken salad? Nope.
But now I do.
With many thanks to my good friend Glenda, now I do.
Glenda is a Southern lady through-and-through, with a heart of pure gold. I kid you not, she is the kindest person I know. And she makes a lip-smackin' darn-tootin'-good chicken salad. I had her chicken salad on several occasions - as luncheons at our school when she'd make a huge batch, at her house for get-togethers, or when she'd be so sweet and pack our whole teaching team a lunch as a treat. And I loved it every time.
I tried a few times to throw it together with what I thought was in it. But I thought wrong. I could never get it to taste like Glenda's. But now I know her secrets ... two secret ingredients, and a method secret. Well, I guess they used to be secrets! She shared them with me ... and now I'm sharing them with you.
Secret #1: Hard Boiled Eggs.
I never knew there were hard-boiled eggs in this chicken salad! Not a lot ... just enough to give a great flavor to the salad. They're chopped up super fine in Glenda's version, so I never realized they were there.
Secret #2: Sweet Pickle Cubes.
Sweet pickle cubes are like sweet relish ... but in bigger chunks, and not as 'mushy' as relish. The cubes add a wonderful little bit of crunch to the chicken salad See ... it'll actually say 'Sweet Pickle Cubes' or 'Sweet Salad Cubes' on the jar ... like this:
You can see the 'chunks' are bigger in sweet salad cubes than in regular relish:
If you can't find Sweet Salad Cubes or Sweet Pickle Cubes, use regular relish. You'll just be missing some of the nice textural crunch of the cubes.
Secret #3: Processing.
Glenda processes the chicken salad in a food processor to get the comforting creamy texture. I always just chopped my ingredients really fine, but you just can't chop fine enough to achieve the creamy texture without processing in a food processor. This was the method secret I was missing!
And there you have it - the secrets to delicious Traditional Southern Chicken Salad. Thanks, Glenda!
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Traditional Southern Chicken Salad
Source: My friend Glenda
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 1/2 c. sweet pickle cubes (may also be called sweet salad cubes)
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Approximately 1/3 c. mayonnaise
- Cook chicken; cool. Process chicken in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Finely chop eggs and combine with chicken. Add pickle cubes, salt, and pepper. Stir in mayonnaise, adding enough to make the chicken salad smooth and creamy. Adjust seasoning, to taste.
- Chill for at least about an hour before serving.
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Please enjoy these other perfect-for-a-sandwich salads from The Kitchen is My Playground ...