Chicken salad is a classic summer dish, but sometimes it can be a little dry and bland, and no amount of mayonnaise can save it. Using sous vide to cook the chicken is a great first step, resulting in always moist and tender meat. To bump up the flavor, I turn to fruit chutney and curry powder. Then I round it out and add a ton of texture with diced celery, carrots, grapes, apples and pecans. It's a dynamic, flavorful dish that everyone loves.
For the chutney, I prefer Major Grey's Mango Chutney, but most sweet and spicy chutneys will work.
I like my sous vide chicken breasts cooked at 141F°F (60.6°C) until pasteurized, normally 2 to 3 hours. Though with chicken salad you can get away with a higher temperature if you prefer. I usually don't even sear the chicken and no one has ever complained!
When I want to try some more flavorful chicken, I often turn to Crowd Cow.
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Preheat a water bath to 141°F (60.6°C).
Mix together the spices in a small bowl. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts then sprinkle with the spice mixture. Place in a sous vide bag then seal. Put the bag in the water bath and cook the chicken breasts for 2 to 4 hours until pasteurized.
For more information on the cooking times you can read my detailed article which addresses why is there a range in sous vide cooking times.
Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients then salt and pepper to taste.
Take the sous vide bag out of the water and remove the chicken breasts. Dry them off thoroughly using a paper towel or dish cloth. Quickly sear the chicken for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until just browned, then remove from the heat. Shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Toss the celery, carrot, parsley, basil, grapes, apples and chopped chicken together with the curry dressing. Place in a bowl then top with the pecans and serve.
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