Pink Chicken Salad
I invented this one day in the way I usually invent recipes--by looking at what I had in the frig and thinking about what might taste good together. I had leftover roast chicken and leftover cranberry sauce from a traditional chicken dinner, and I also happened to have some fresh dill in the garden, so I went from there.
This is one of my partner’s favorite dishes, especially when we eat it in sandwiches made with toasted challah bread. It’s heavenly with a salad on the side. (Just fabulous with a tangy vinaigrette, like one made with red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.)
cooked white-meat chicken, diced up (I sometimes buy a pre-cooked whole chicken for this--you know, the rotisserie chicken at the grocery store
red onion, diced (white onion is OK if you don’t have a red onion)
fresh dill, chopped
mayonnaise (the real stuff, not Redi Whip)
whole-bean cranberry sauce (homemade; see below)
Mix all this stuff up according to your taste. (I like a lot of onions and dill.) Do be careful to go easy on the mayonnaise; this recipe needs very little mayo to taste rich and good.
Cranberry sauce: Store-bought cranberry sauce is a disgusting jelly made mostly of corn syrup. Don’t bother with it. Make your own cranberry sauce. It is so easy! Take 1 bag (12 ounces) of fresh cranberries. Wash them and pick out any that look really gnarly. Pour the rest into a sauce pan. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Stir and cook. When the berries start to pop, lower the heat to simmering, and cook about 10 minutes more. Pour into a glass bowl and let cool some before using. (Cranberry sauce made this way keeps about 3-6 weeks in the frig.)
It can be tough to find fresh cranberries during most of the year (especially where I live in Michigan), so when cranberries are available, as at Thanksgiving time, I buy a ton and throw them in the freezer. (I just toss the bags, as is, in the freezer.) If it is out of season and you don’t have any in your freezer, you can sometimes find whole cranberries in the freezer case at the grocery store. I also use my frozen cranberries when I make cranberry-pecan muffins.