Chicken Salad w/Caramelized Walnuts (A New Deli Classic)

If you’re cooking for a crowd, multiply this recipe. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser; we serve it regularly at The New Deli.

Part of the secret to using raisins: they get soaked overnight in red wine vinegar. It gives them the perfect sweet/sour flavor, plus, it keeps the raisins from soaking up mayonnaise (which doesn’t look as appetizing!).

Serves 8 (or more, for appetizers).

Grateful-Table-Chicken-Salad-w-Walnuts-Raisins-New-Deli

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1 1/2 TBS. red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c. white sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 c. walnuts
  • 1 1/2 lb. raw, boneless, skinless chicken breast (or use 2 c. leftover chicken)
  • 1 c. mayo
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

 PREPARATION

1. A day before, soak together: > 1/2 c. raisins > 1 1/2 TBS. red wine vinegar

2. Also ahead of time, caramelize walnuts. For smaller amounts, as in this recipe, use a medium-small skillet; for best results, use a heavy skillet, such as iron. Preheat until quite hot, even smoking. Turn heat off, turning back on as needed to finish “melting” the sugar. Sprinkle the sugar in the hot pan across the whole surface, and let melt on its own, without stirring. Tilt the pan to encourage the melting process; the melted parts will help dissolve any remaining white parts. Use: > 1/3 c. white sugar

3. To pan of caramelized sugar, which should soon appear translucent and golden, add: > 1 1/2 to 2 c. walnuts

4. Pour walnuts into the heated pan, stirring until mixed well with caramelized sugar. Turn into large bowl to cool.

5. For the chicken, bake some boneless, skinless chicken breasts at 375 degrees for one hour (or use already-cooked chicken): > 1 1/2 lb. raw, boneless, skinless chicken breast (or 2 c. leftover chicken)

6. Chop (or process) the cooked chicken, add to a big bowl. Also chop: > The cooled, caramelized walnuts

7. Mix all ingredients together in the bowl: > 2 c. fine-chopped celery > 1 c. mayo > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/4 tsp. pepper > Soaked raisin/vinegar mix > Caramelized walnuts > Chopped chicken

8. Mix all the above together. To serve for lunch or a light dinner, scoop onto lettuce leaves or make into sandwiches. For appetizers, put onto thin-sliced sweet baguettes.

3 Responses to “Chicken Salad w/Caramelized Walnuts (A New Deli Classic)”

    • Reply Jennifer Cote

      It IS popular, Melissa! Of all the sandwiches we have, this is probably the favorite. (Although Turkey Muenster Melt’s another winner ­čśÇ )

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