I like to channel Ina Garten (or should we just call her the Barefoot Contessa?) whenever I can. Let me tell you about a night long ago when I tried. And to put it lightly, I failed–miserably.
My roommate, Emily, and I decided to have a “real” party when we moved into our first apartment after college. We bought a case of Trader Joe’s wine, lots of beer, and a ham. We invited new co-workers, my parents, and bunch of our friends. Let’s be honest, this was a glorified college party. We may have had fancy clothes on, but that was about it. At least we had the ham. That ham was our saving grace. The ham made it okay that there were real adults there. That ham made us feel like Ina (we even bought whole cloves for the occasion).
My parents exited that party as they saw me–their daughter–taking a peppermint patty shot. Classy.
So this post is actually not about ham, nor is it about me failing to meet Barefoot standards, it’s about chicken salad. Ina always uses mayo & sour cream. I agree with Ina; it brings out the best flavor. I’m pretty sure Ina was born in black pants and a chambray shirt (collar popped), but I’m going to tell myself that she once had an unsophisticated day, relied on a ham, and we have that in common. That and chicken salad recipes.
Inspired by Cafe Patachou in Indianapolis
4 split chicken breasts
s and p
2-3 slices of applewood smoked bacon
1/2 cup good mayo
1/8 cup sour cream
2 celery stalks – medium dice
Preheat oven to 375 F. Place the chicken breasts on a cookie sheet with a lip. Season w/ olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Place in oven and cook for 30-40 minutes or until cooked and tender. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, prepare the bacon in a large heavy bottomed skillet. Cook so that it is somewhat crumbly but not burnt. Set on a paper towel to cool. Reserve bacon fat.
Remove the chicken skin; pull the chicken from the bone and chop into a medium – small dice. Roughly chop the bacon. In a large bowl, mix the mayo and sour cream. Then add the chicken, bacon, and celery. Season w/ salt, pepper, and drizzle in ~a tsp of the bacon fat (!!). Chill and serve the following day.