Hot chicken salad

My friend, Gail, brought us lunch today at the temporary CRC warehouse. “Do you feel good or do you feel bad?” she asked. That’s the code for do you want a salad or a bag of Krystals? At the time, I was feeling good and she brought Subway sandwiches for the volunteers and staff.

But it made me start to think about food and disasters and how intertwined they are in the South. What do you do after a devastating flood? You bring food. There are just random people who showed up in the hardest hit areas of Nashville, set up a grill and started cooking hamburgers and hot dogs. They didn’t know the victims and the victims didn’t know them. And it didn’t matter. Bring food.

However, now I am feeling bad and I am going to make Hot Chicken Salad for supper. You might think of chicken salad as good because it’s got chicken in it. But it’s very bad because it’s loaded with mayonnaise. Hot Chicken Salad takes the “bad” factor to an entirely new level. After you mix up the cooked chicken with celery (good), almonds (good) shredded Cheddar cheese (bad) and mayonnaise (bad), you top the entire casserole with crushed potato chips.

And not just any potato chips. They have to be Golden Flake, the South’s Original Potato Chip, made in Birmingham, Alabama. The thin kind, not the ridged kind. Each and every Golden Flake potato chip is just drenched in grease, which is why they are the preferred potato chip for Hot Chicken Salad. You will be tempted not to put the potato chips on this casserole but if you leave them off you will be completely sorry. The potato chips make it.

Hot Chicken Salad

4 medium cooked chicken breasts

1 cup celery, diced

1/2 slivered almonds, toasted in a skillet until browned

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (or to taste, the mixture should be creamy)

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups crushed Golden Flake potato chip

Precooked rice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the chicken, celery, almonds, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and cheese. Put the rice in a 9-by-13 baking dish.  Add the chicken  mixture and top with crushed potato chips.  Bake for 30  minutes, or until bubbly.

1 Comment

Filed under casseroles, chicken, Uncategorized

One response to “Hot chicken salad

  1. Billie

    I discovered your blog yesterday, looking for “funeral food.” Being a born and bred Southern girl (and Episcopalian), the food has to be “correct.” I will be making chicken salad (using white meat only, of course — and Duke’s mayo) and cheese straws.

    The Hot Chicken Salad has a place in our family history — being served at wedding luncheons for all us girls — along with fresh butterbeans and homemade rolls. We took chickens to all the neighbors, with instructions to cook and cut them up. Friends came over to shell the bushel of freshly picked butterbeans. And yes, the potato chips are necessary. A little artery-clogging comfort food once in a while is good for the soul!

    I will now be a regular reader — the blog is great!

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