Picnic Week: Trish Magwood's Picnic Chicken Salad - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

Picnic Week: Trish Magwood's Picnic Chicken Salad

The lovely and tal­ented Trish Mag­wood was one of the first peo­ple we fea­tured in our Quick Bite series where we talk to our favourite food­ies. You can under­stand why — she's an award win­ning cook­book author, started her own cook­ing school, had a hit tv show.… oh, and she has three kids! Her lat­est book In My Mother's Kitchen is an SPC favourite. It's full of great recipes but also tells sto­ries of mem­o­rable fam­ily meals that inspired them. I love that it's a mix of decades old recipes past down by Aun­ties and Grand­mas and new ones that have been devel­oped in Trish's own kitchen. We're lucky enough to share one of them with you this week. Just in time sum­mer pic­nics, here's a great sand­wich idea. So, I'll hand it over to Trish! — C.M. 

Pic­nic Chicken Salad

This salad harkens back to my early cater­ing days with my old friend Foofie. At twenty-one we were cater­ing wed­dings on Geor­gian Bay island rocks and in fields in the rain. This was always a sum­mer lunch enter­tain­ing favourite—make-ahead, deli­cious and all-in-one easy to serve.

Serves 8


1 large round loaf of bread (such as a boule or Cal­abrese loaf)
1/3 cup (75 mL) may­on­naise
1/2 tsp (2 mL) curry pow­der
1/4 tsp (1 mL) paprika
3 cups (750 mL) cubed cooked chicken (about 3 breasts)
1 cup (250 mL) green grapes, halved
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped cel­ery
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup (60 mL) thinly sliced green onions
1 sweet red pep­per, diced
Salt and black pep­per
Romaine Lettuce

How to

Slice off the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the loaf in one big piece and set aside. Hol­low out the bread, leav­ing a shell 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick.

In a medium bowl, stir together may­on­naise, curry pow­der and paprika. Stir in chicken, grapes, cel­ery, almonds, green onion, red pep­per, and salt and black pep­per to taste.

Line the bread bowl with let­tuce leaves. Spoon chicken mix­ture into the bread. Replace the bread top. Wrap tightly in plas­tic wrap and refrig­er­ate until pic­nic time. (You can make the chicken salad the day before, and you can fill the bread half a day in advance.)

To serve, using a bread knife, slice the boule into wedges, so guests have ready-made sandwiches.

Kitchen Notes: In a pinch, buy a ready-to-go roasted chicken. Oth­er­wise, roast bone­less chicken breasts with a bit of salt and pep­per, or do them my grand­mother Bo’s way, the most ten­der and flavour­ful: in a large pot of water, gen­tly sim­mer chicken breasts with chopped onion, chopped cel­ery, cel­ery leaves, pep­per­corns, a bay leaf and pars­ley until cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.

1 bone-in chicken breast yields about 1 cup (250 mL) cubed chicken.

1 large bone­less chicken breast yields a gen­er­ous cup (250 mL) cubed chicken.

To toast almonds, heat a dry fry­ing pan over medium heat and dry-toast the nuts for a few min­utes until light brown, stir­ring frequently.

Vari­a­tion: This chicken salad is also deli­cious served on a bed of let­tuce or on grilled flat­bread or crostini.


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