Splendid Chicken Salad

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: This recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. White meat from a roasted chicken will also work. From Beth Dooley.

• 1 large shallot, peeled and cut into chunks

• 2 tsp. black peppercorns

• 3 to 4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see Note)

• 2 celery ribs, diced

• 2 green onions, trimmed, white parts diced

• 2 tbsp. chopped parsley

• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

• 1/2 c. mayonnaise (homemade, or Mrs. Clark’s, or Hellman’s)

• 1/2 c. whole-milk plain yogurt

• 1 tsp. coarse Dijon mustard

• 1 to 2 tbsp. lemon juice

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 1/4 c. chopped cashews, optional, for garnish

Directions

Fill a medium pot 2/3 high with water. Add the shallots and peppercorns. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and slip the chicken into the pot (the water should cover the chicken, add more boiling water if necessary); place the cover on the pot. Set aside and allow the chicken to poach for about 2 hours. To test for doneness, cut a piece of the chicken; it should not be pink inside and the internal temperature should register 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Remove the chicken and pat the meat dry with paper towels, then shred the meat into pieces and place in a bowl. Toss in the celery, green onions, parsley and basil.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and lemon juice. Toss this with the chicken to thoroughly coat the meat. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice.

Variations

• Curried Chicken Salad With Cherries: Toss 1/4 cup pitted fresh cherries in with the shredded chicken. Substitute lime juice for the lemon juice. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder and 1 teaspoon honey to the dressing. Substitute 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro for the basil, and add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint. Garnish with toasted chopped cashews.

• Classic Tarragon Chicken Salad: Substitute white wine vinegar for the lemon juice. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon to the fresh herbs.

• Mom’s Sweet Pickle Chicken Salad: Delete the lemon juice and add 1 cup sweet pickle relish to the dressing.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 420 Fat 21 g Sodium 280 mg

Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 5 g Total sugars 2 g

Protein 52 g Cholesterol 150 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Exchanges per serving: 7 ½ lean protein, 1 fat.