Quick story time but really it’s just context: I went to school in Dallas (SMU, Pony Up) and there is a shopping center called Highland Park Village that has fantastic restaurants. There used to be (past tense because I just heard this location is closing, hence the recipe) a little coffee shop / grocery called Royal Blue Grocery. They had wine and snacks and cheese + a coffee bar + a prepared food section. I used to go there to study for exams each semester because they also had tables you could sit at. My favorite thing to get (other than coffee) was their tarragon chicken salad and a bag of pretzel chips to snack on while I was studying. It was and still is my absolute favorite chicken salad so when I moved after college I really missed it. I had tried to make it at home before but it wasn’t the same. When I heart this location was closing I found a picture of the ingredients list online and here we are! This is exactly as I remember it and I’m so happy I know how to make it at home.
Time: 15-45 minutes (depending on chicken)
a food processor helps but is not necessary
1 large cooked chicken breast (2 options, below)
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
2 celery stalks
1 green onion (whites + greens)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons mayo
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
salt + pepper to taste
a pinch of cayenne
If you are using a food processor, add the chicken to the bowl and pulse to chop until the chicken is in small pieces. I think this step is based on texture preference. Remove the chicken from the processor and rinse with water.
Add the walnuts to the processor and pulse to chop until they are the size of a pea (approx). Remove and set aside.
Cut the celery + green onion into 2-3 inch pieces. Add the celery, green onion, and parsley to the food processor and chop until everything is finely chopped.
Heat a skillet over medium. Add the chopped walnuts and dried tarragon - toast for 5 minutes until fragrant. Remove and let cool.
In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients and use a fork, spoon, or tongs to mix and fold it all together. You can add more mayo or sour cream if its really not mixing but this isn‘t meant to be an overly saucy chicken salad.
Enjoy on a sandwich or piece of toast with arugula!
I use a 3.5 cup food processor to chop chicken for chicken salad. I also decided to use it to chop the walnuts and veggies going into this recipe. It’s really fast and easy and i 100% recommend this method but it’s not necessary! You can use forks or a hand/ stand mixer to shred the chicken. You can use a knife to finely dice the veggies / parsley. You can use a plastic baggie and a hammer or blunt object to break up the walnuts. That all seems like more work than a food processor though.
For the chicken: I used cold rotisserie chicken that I had leftover from dinner the night before. I like to start with cold chicken for chicken salad but you don’t have to. If you are cooking the chicken yourself: Cut the chicken breast into large chunks, add to a large pot of salted water, bring it to a boil boil then reduce to a heavy simmer for 20-25 minutes. When it’s done cooking let it cool in the fridge before mixing it with other ingredients.