A little brisk now for chicken salad and sliced tomatoes on the screen porch—but a hint of summer would taste good on a winter afternoon.  This baked chicken salad has as many variations as there are community cookbooks—all good, all easy.  Use left-over chicken or turkey, rotisserie chicken or poach 3-4 chicken pieces.  Many of these mid-century recipes used that new marvel—“Cream of Something Soup”—but a quick, nutmeg-scented Béchamel sauce, will take this up a notch.  This is the basic recipe, potato chips and all–serves 3-4, and all sorts of flavorful things can be added—mushrooms, pesto, chopped boiled egg, curry powder, thyme, a little sherry, etc.

  • 3-4 cups cooked chicken, cut up as for salad
  • A little grated onion
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • Small can of sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tblsp capers

1 cup Béchamel sauce (1 tblsp melted butter, add 1 tblsp flour and whisk over low heat until mixture turns golden brown (photo)—add 3/4 cup warm milk and whisk gently until thickened—add salt, pepper and grated nutmeg to taste)—or use 1 can of Cream of Something soup (and add a little milk)! 

Butter baking pan and preheat oven to 350’—stir together all ingredients and check seasoning—spread in prepared pan and top with 1 ½ cups crushed potato chips.  Bake for about 25 min.  Garnish with fried shallots.

The Kitchen Hive

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