Tarragon Chicken Salad
Picnic Perfect and best made ahead - this salad pairs well with champagne too. Easily doubled for a crowd. Use 3/4 cup mayo if you don't like your chicken salad super creamy.
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves (about two pounds)
1 large handful fresh tarragon sprigs (from a 1 oz. herb package), divided
1 quart chicken stock
3 stems green onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
Slivered almonds or fresh tarragon as an optional garnish
POACH THE CHICKEN: Reserve the 3 prettiest sprigs of the fresh tarragon, and place the remainder at the bottom of a large pot. Lay the chicken pieces over the tarragon and pour the chicken stock over all. Cover the pot and bring the stock to a boil. After the stock is boiling, turn the chicken over and reduce to a very slow simmer and let the chicken breasts cook for about ten more minutes, or until nearly cooked through. Turn off heat. Allow the chicken breasts to rest in the pot, with the lid firmly closed, for thirty minutes to finish poaching. Place the entire mixture in the refrigerator until cold - or overnight for more intense flavor.
MAKE THE SALAD: Remove the chicken breasts from the stock (reserve stock for another use and discard the tarragon). Chop the chicken into dice-sized pieces (or alternatively, shred the meat) and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped green onion and celery and stir to mix.
MAKE THE DRESSING: Mix the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add two sprigs of chopped fresh tarragon. Stir to blend.
TOSS: Stir the dressing into the chicken mixture and stir to coat. Garnish with the remaining sprig of tarragon and/or slivered almonds.
Serve as a salad course over a lettuce leaf, or in a bun as a sandwich.