Fresh Chicken Salad

The reputation of the Loveless Cafe was to a large extent built on its way with chicken. The preparation most customers know is fried. But cooks in these parts do just about everything with it. "We lived off the yard bird when we were growing up," Tom recalls. "You ate the chicken, and what you didn't eat you made into chicken salad."

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • 4 (5-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ lb butter 2 sticks
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup yellow raisins
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 celery stalks diced
  • 1 large yellow onion cut julienne
  • 2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ lb red grapes
  • ½ lb green grapes
  • 4 (12-ounce) bags baby mixed green lettuce
  • 1 cup French Tarragon Dressing See Recipe for French Tarragon Dressing
  • 2 large granny smith apples cut into wedges
  • 2 red delicious apples cut into wedges
  • ½ cup candied pecans
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken breasts in a Pyrex baking dish and top them with ¼ pound butter (¼ stick per breast) and salt and pepper to taste. Bake until just done, 20 to 25 minutes. Take the chicken out and let it cool; then dice the meat for salad.
  • While the chicken is baking, combine the raisins, currants, cranberries, and cherries, if using, and set aside.
  • Sauté the celery, onion, tarragon, oregano, thyme, and basil in the remaining ¼ pound butter on medium heat. Mix the mayonnaise and sour cream together with the 3 tablespoons lemon juice and vinegar. In a large bowl combine the sour cream mixture with the warm sautéed vegetable mixture. Add the chicken and grapes and stir gently. Add the dash of lemon juice and gently stir.
  • To serve, toss the mixed greens with ½ cup of the vinaigrette dressing and place them on a plate as a base. With a spoon or scoop, portion the chicken salad in the center of the greens on the plate. Drizzle the remaining ½ cup of the vinaigrette on top of the chicken salad. Sprinkle with the dried fruit mixture and garnish with the apple wedges. and candied pecans.

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