Today I want to share both a favorite recipe I've made many times as well as some variations on the recipe. My very favorite chicken salad recipe is one I accidentally invented years ago. After reading Alexandra Stoddard's "Tea Celebrations," I decided to make her Tiny Chicken Waldorf Cream Puffs. I didn't want my sandwiches to be all that tiny, however, and I also didn't want the hassle of making cream puffs. So I made my sandwiches with mini-croissants and was very pleased with them. One day I was writing down the chicken salad recipe for a friend and suddenly noticed that the grapes I had always included weren't originally in that recipe at all. I'm not sure why I added them, I just know that I love the result, and that this has been my most-requested tea party recipe over the years. I've shared it before, but I didn't want to get to the end of this "tea sandwich year" without having this beloved recipe in the list of tea sandwich possibilities!
Chicken Waldorf Salad
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup grapes, chopped in half
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste
Microwave the chicken breasts until done, then chop in a food processor. In another bowl, mix chicken with remaining ingredients and chill, preferably overnight so the flavors can meld. Do not skimp on the celery seed or you will regret it, as that is what makes this recipe!
Variation: If you've got turkey leftovers at Thanksgiving this year, you can use this same recipe and substitute turkey for the chicken, as I did here.
Garnish idea: Break Pepperidge Farm's butterfly crackers in half, add an inch or so of chopped chives for antenna and you have a quick and easy butterfly garnish for a scoop of chicken salad served in a sherbet dish!