Classic Chicken Salad

Spring and summer in the South call for refreshing and simple make-ahead picnic dishes. This version of classic chicken salad is just the thing for a lovely summer lunch.

Recipe and photograph by Lauren McElwain

3 chicken breasts (boiled with half a red onion, 3 garlic cloves, salt and pepper, until no pink remains)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup mayonnaise (plus more if needed)
2 celery sticks (finely chopped)
1 cup grapes (sliced)
1 cup chopped pecans
2 hard boiled eggs (finely chopped)
Cayenne pepper, to taste

After cutting the tough parts off the boiled chicken breasts, pulse them in a food processor until ground to liking, along with garlic powder, salt and pepper, curry powder and nutmeg. Transfer to a large container with lid.

Add the mayonnaise, celery, grapes, pecans and eggs, and stir to combine. If you prefer more mayonnaise, add another ¼ cup. Also adjust seasonings as desired. Add about 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper as you blend (add less for less spice; more for more spice).

Once all ingredients are combined, put the lid on the container and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or even overnight to allow flavors to meld.
Before serving, sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

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