How to Make Willow Tree Chicken Salad

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Willow Tree Poultry Farm in Attleboro, Massachusetts has been selling its tasty chicken salad in and around New England for the past 50 years or so. If you have a craving for this yummy sandwich spread but can't get to a grocery store that sells the stuff, you can always order it from the Willow Tree website in container sizes ranging from the modest (15 oz.) to the extreme (10 gallons). If, however, you'd prefer to try creating a similar chicken salad on your own, this recipe should make a reasonable facsimile.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 whole large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cook the chicken breasts until they are tender, but be sure they do not get too dry. One good method of cooking them to ensure moistness is to poach them in water or chicken stock - bring the liquid to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer, add the chicken and simmer it uncovered for seven minutes. Then cover the pan tightly, remove it from the heat and let the chicken sit in the hot liquid for 1/2 hour to one hour.

  • Remove the chicken from the hot liquid and let it sit for a bit until it is cool enough to touch and has dried off. When the chicken has cooled, shred it by hand until it reaches the desired consistency. You can also, if you like, use a stand mixer (like a Kitchenaid) to shred the chicken - to do this, separate the chicken by hand into largish chunks, then beat these chunks using the paddle attachment at medium speed until your chicken is shredded.

  • Transfer the shredded chicken into a bowl. Mix the mayonnaise into the chicken until the shreds are evenly coated.

  • Stir the chopped celery and onion into the chicken mixture. Season it with the brown sugar, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

  • Pile the chicken salad on a slice of bread or a roll, wrap it in a tortilla, stuff it in a pita or scoop it onto a plate of lettuce. If you prefer, you can just eat it right out of the bowl.

Tips & Warnings

  • To reduce the amount of fat and calories, you can use low fat mayonnaise or substitute nonfat plain yogurt for part of the mayonnaise
  • Adding extra vegetables (more onion and celery, or perhaps some chopped apple or peeled grapes) will also cut the calories and add nutritional benefits

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