Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and this week I found it necessary to come up with a new recipe that would allow me to use up the last of the fresh cranberries before they go to waste. I also had some chicken breasts I needed to use, so a new chicken salad recipe was in order. The result was this Hot Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad Tea Sandwich. I think probably 95 percent of the tea sandwiches I've eaten have been cold or cool sandwiches, but if I were serving guests at home I think it would be possible to add a hot one sometime. (Where do you stand on that? MUST tea sandwiches be cold? I realize hot ones aren't practical on a large scale, but at a small gathering they might work.)
And let me add that although I used fresh cranberries (I love the tart flavor), I would be quite willing to substitute dried ones during those seasons of the year when fresh ones aren't available.
I've also decided I'm going to experiment with my tea sandwich breads this year since I typically use plain white or plain wheat. For this sandwich, I used my home's favorite, the Italian five-grain bread from Publix. I thought this recipe made a fine little tea sandwich, and my husband and I even had the chicken salad as regular size open-faced sandwiches for dinner one night. (He liked it! Hey Mikey!)
Hot Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad
1 large cooked chicken breast, finely chopped in food processor (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons pecans, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise, or to taste
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook on medium to high heat, stirring constantly, until about half the cranberries have popped. Remove from heat and immediately spread on sandwich bread. Yields enough filling for about 12-14 (2-1/2-inch diameter) tea sandwiches.