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Cilantro Almond Chicken Salad

July 20, 2009

I love, love, love chicken salad, but I’m wary of ordering it in restaurants because you don’t know if what you’re going to get is

cilantro almond chicken salad

cilantro almond chicken salad

mayonnaise soup with bits of chicken.  Yikes.  So, I typically make it on my own so I can make sure it has the right chicken to mayo ratio.  This recipe caught my eye because it isn’t your typical chicken salad, and is reminiscent of the Circassian Chicken I made a while back.  Both contain ground nuts in the sauce and some garlic.  The nuts elevate regular old chicken salad into something with a lot more flavor.  And while this has a good amount of cilantro in it, it’s by no means overpowering.  This would be great on a sandwich, salad or crackers.  I messed around with the amounts in this recipe, which is from Gourmet, and serves 4.

Ingredients:

2 chicken breast halves with skin and bone (about 1 1/2 lbs total)

1 c blanched almond slivers (I cheated and used pre-toasted chopped almonds with the skin)

1 clove garlic

1″ piece of jalapeno, chopped and seeds removed

1/3- 1/2 c light mayonnaise, depending on your love of mayo

2-3 T sour cream or Greek yogurt

1 lime, juiced

1/4 t salt

1 c chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Place chicken breasts in a large pot and cover with water.  Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook until chicken breasts are done- about 20-30 minutes.  Remove chicken from water and let sit until cool enough to handle.  Then remove skin and bone and shred the meat.  Reserve some of the cooking liquid.

If your almonds aren’t already toasted, toast those.

In a food processor, drop the garlic in with the motor running to chop it (I totally used a blender for all of this and it worked.  Just be sure you don’t puree the mixture and pulse it so it stays a little coarse).  Add jalapeno, lime juice, mayonnaise, yogurt and salt and blend until smooth.  Add almonds and pulse until blended, but still a little chunky.  Add cilantro and additional salt as desired and pulse until just combined.  If your mixture gets too thick, you can add some of the cooking liquid from the chicken to thin it out a bit.

Combine the chicken and almond dressing in a large bowl and moisten with some additional cooking liquid if necessary.

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