Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad

If  Julia Child is the amazing queen of home cooks, then Ina Garten is our fairy god mother. The one who always has a fantastic, elegant recipe for parties, lunches, and family dinners.

I’ve been a huge Ina Garten fan for quite a while.  I binge when I can on her shows on The Food Network.  Her recipes are pretty simple, yet the end product at times looks too elegant to eat.

I lied.  Usually I stuff my face as soon as I can with Ina’s recipes!

One of her most popular recipes is her Curried Chicken Salad.  It’s a staple at her delicatessen shop, The Barefoot Contessa, which also just so happens to be the main title of several of her cookbooks.  This recipe in particular is in her Family Style cookbook.  I’ve got this book and her Barefoot in Paris book, and I could certainly make any excuse to get a few more!

While this is one her most popular recipes, I’ll admit it that I’ve never actually made it.  But hey, there’s first for everything!

Here’s my YouTube video of this test.  I’m trying out a shorter version of these.  Let me know what you think!  Follow my channel to get notified when I upload another video.

 

Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions (AKA shallots) , white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (AKA sultanas)
  • 1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.
  3. For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.
  4. Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.

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The good, the bad, the inedible

You know how Nigella Lawson always had a closing shot on her show where she’s having a midnight snack with whatever she cooked? Yeah.  That was me with Ina’s chicken salad once amended.  It’s freaking addictive.  Perfect crunch with the celery and cashews, just enough sweetness with the sultanas and nice spicy depth of flavour with the curry.

Just a couple of downsides though.

First of all, I don’t exactly have the time to roast 3 whole chicken breasts.  Plus, those type of bird boobs would cost about $15, maybe even over $20 if you’re going free range or at a specialty butcher.  Coles Supermarkets here making a really decent roast chook (Aussie speak for chicken), and it’s only $8 a pop. BOOM. Money and time saved!

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The other downside is this is actually pretty salty.  You’re more than likely going to buy pre-roasted and salted cashews, am I right? They’re already pretty salty, and if you add 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt in your dressing, it’s incredibly salty.  I ended up cutting the salt by half and that seemed to make a world of difference.

This recipe would be, as Ina usually says, “fabulous” for school or office lunches.  Even make it a ritzy twist as finger sandwiches for high tea or a lunch party, or make cups using endive leaves.

So, below is my only slightly improved version.  Enjoy!  And please let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments.

Curried Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 roasted chickens, meat shredded (4-4/12 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions (AKA shallots) , white and green parts (2 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (AKA sultanas)
  • 1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Directions

  1. For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 3/4  teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.-
  2. Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and serve at room temperature

Handy Tip: keep some dressing in the fridge and redress the salad if you have some leftover in a day or two.  Like any salad, it dries out just a tad after a couple of days.  Adding a bit more dressing give it an added moisture boost.

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