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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicken Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salad is a classic combination of apples, grapes, celery and walnuts in a creamy dressing.

Over the years, everyone has made their own version, and this is mine. It is pretty simple and stays very close to the classic Waldorf. However, since I made this the meal for two, I added some chicken.

Now, let's talk about the chicken for a moment. Most of the time, salads using chicken use chicken breasts which are cut into slices or cubes. I, however, used chicken thighs, which I cooked on the stove top, let cool, then hand shredded. Of course, if you prefer chicken breast, by all means use them. And if you prefer your salad to look less rustic, then of course you can cut the chicken into cubes. However, I love chicken thighs because they have far more flavor and stay super moist. In fact, I cook them with bone in and skin on, then remove both once the thighs are cooked. Then I hand shred them. Yes, a little rustic, but the salad dressing seems to stick better to the shredded chicken.

I also used only sour cream in the salad dressing. You could use yogurt, mayonnaise or a mix of the three, but I happened to have sour cream on hand and it turned out great!

This is a really great salad to make as a meal for 2 or as a starter or side dish for 4. And because there are no "greens" this salad doesn't wilt in the fridge. In fact, it tastes better with age, so make it in advance and keep the leftovers for a quick lunch. It really couldn't be easier.

Chicken Waldorf Salad
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a starter or side

1 Apple, cored and cut into cubes (I prefer the tartness of granny smith)
3 ribs Celery, cut into 1 cm pieces
1/2 cup Walnut Pieces, lightly toasted
1 cup Seedless Grapes, cut in half
4 Chicken Thighs, with skin and bone
Salt and Pepper

For the Dressing:
1/3 cup Sour Cream
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Lemon Zest
1 tsp Celery Seeds
Salt and pepper

Heat a pan over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place skin side down in the heated pan. Let cook for about 4 minutes until the skin is brown and turn over. Cover and oook for 6-8 minutes until cooked through. Remove from pan and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, mix all the salad dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cut apple, celery and grapes. Remove the skin from the chicken and remove the meat from the bone. Tear into pieces about the same size as the rest of the ingredients. Toss everything together.

At this point, I would refrigerate the salad until I am ready to serve it. Just before service, toss in half of the toasted walnuts. Then sprinkle the rest on top for garnish.


  1. I never had a waldorf with a chicken, but then why not? Yours looks great :-)

  2. I'm with you about chicken thighs - juicier and yummier!