My theory is that you can never have too many chicken salad recipes, and the one I tried this week seems to be recommended by lots of readers on the web. It came from the old Younkers Tea Room in Des Moines, Iowa and is one of the recipes I came across while researching these old department store tea rooms.
What makes this recipe unique, I think, is its addition of sunflower seeds and Ranch flavored salad dressing, two foods I love and couldn't wait to incorporate into chicken salad! Here's the recipe as I made it.
Younkers Tea Room Chicken Salad
3 cups chicken thighs (boiled and broth saved for another use)
1 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup prepared Ranch salad dressing
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon dried and minced garlic
Boil chicken thighs and allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes. Tear thighs into large pieces and place in food processor, pulsing until chopped but still containing some chunks of the chicken. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken and remaining ingredients. (I started with only 3/4 cup of the Ranch dressing, questioning whether 1 full cup was really needed, but it was!) Toss well and allow flavors to meld overnight. If you eat this immediately it may taste like it needs some salt and pepper, but try to restrain yourself. Leave this overnight and the flavors of the minced garlic and the celery salt really come through the next day. Delicious and crunchy! Makes 6 servings — or a heap of tea sandwiches.
For my tea sandwiches this week, I decided to do something different and used small tart pans to cut out the rounds of (frozen) white bread. If you spray the edges with cooking spray, it will help release the bread and give you pretty and slightly flared rounds of bread.