Classic Chicken Salad {with a hint of Chevre}

Warning: the narrative below is only tangentially related to the chicken salad recipe. If you’re just here for the food, you will definitely might want to scroll down. 

Aside: only a lawyer would feel compelled to provide a contents-may-be-boring disclaimer on a food blog. And an aside. In italics. 

Begin tangent

Before I met my husband, I was not a dog person. We had two awesome dogs growing up, Taco and Belle (I thought I was witty then, and for the record, I still do), pictured below in their advanced ages: 

I loved those dogs very much, but I wasn’t someone who felt great compassion for dogs. Husband, however, feels great compassion towards anything. I wasn’t anti-dog or anything, I just wasn’t dog-crazy. 

I decided to get my own lap dog to keep me company the first year that Husband and I were dating. He urged me not to, but as usual I paid no attention to sage wisdom I got Mops anyway. She was the most adorable puppy:

She bloomed early, though, as I’ve thoroughly documented on my blog. Poor Mops:

After Mops came Husband’s dog Ketch and before too long, we spent our spare time at the dog park, on walks, and managing to embarrass our dogs in public. In short, they’re our kids. I’d become a dog person. 

Then, over the summer, my mom called me to let me know that my childhood dog, Taco, had very advanced cancer and would not make it longer than a month or so. I was devastated. I know that everyone says this, but Taco was a truly special dog. He was “the one.” I think every dog person has “the one”: that amazing creature to which all future dogs will be measured. Taco was a pound puppy who seemed to act every day like he was grateful to us for taking him home. He was a gentleman dog and was entirely undemanding of anything except belly rubs. 

Paying tribute to an animal is difficult. I truly grieved over Taco’s loss and I still can’t talk about it without crying. My parents buried Taco in the backyard and planted a tree for him. They plant trees as their beautiful way of remembering loved ones. We incorporated branches from these trees in our wedding so those who have passed could be with us on our big day (the branches are under the table, in the center, with candles): 

But, if I tried to remember Taco by planting a tree, I’d soon have to plant a second tree to remember the first tree, which I would have killed in a matter of weeks. It would really just spiral out of control quickly. Trees everywhere. 

Instead of a tree, Husband and I paid tribute to Taco by becoming a foster home for the Humane Society. We will host Humane Society dogs until they are placed in a forever home. We got our first foster dog this weekend. She and Ketch took an immediate liking to each other as soon as we loaded them into the car: 

Sammy (she came with her name) has been in the Humane Society’s program for about seven months now. She’s been cared for greatly, of course, but it is overwhelming to me to think that she has not had a permanent home for the majority of a year, and who knows how long before that. Her disposition reminds me of Taco’s; she has the same gentle, affection nature. Sammy follows me around the house (and I’m sure not just because I’m always in the kitchen), sitting a few feet back and just smiling at me. It’s great for my ego. 

So, for now, we are a three dog family until Sammy is adopted. She and Ketch wear each other out during the day, so we are actually a three sleepy dog family by the end of the day. It’s a bit chaotic, but it feels like helping other “pound puppies” is a tangible gift I can give to honor Taco. 

End Tangent

Oh hey this is a really good chicken salad recipe.

 Perhaps it was a bit of a reach to say that the post is even tangentially related to the recipe. 

Classic Chicken Salad {with a hint of Chevre}
Serves 6 – 8

You will need:

  • 3 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup chopped green grapes
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 2 tbsp. course ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. each paprika, celery seed, salt, and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chevre, room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 375. Arrange pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for approximately ten minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Turn off oven. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise and chevre until combined. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir together, adding in the mayo mixture last. 
  • Serve slightly chilled, with bagel chips or on Stonemill Bakery‘s cranberry-pecan bread if you’re in the Fayetteville area (it’s the best, trust me). 

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Comments 5

  1. The Internet Cooking Princess

    Your tangents make me cry. You gotta work on that. But yay, chicken salad!!!

    22 November, 2013
  2. The Internet Cooking Princess

    P.S. Would Sammy be good in a townhome, by any chance?

    23 November, 2013
  3. Jamie Claire

    Believe me, the waterworks were flowing when I was writing this post! Sammy is a super energetic, playful young lady. I think she definitely needs a yard. Or a full-time dog walker.

    27 November, 2013
  4. Katie Arkenberg

    Love that you are fostering a dog, I hope Sammy finds a forever home! This chicken salad recipe looks yummy, too. I like to add chopped apple to mine, I never thought of grapes, great addition! ~ Katie @ Pearls + Girls

    30 November, 2013
  5. Jamie Claire

    Thank you so much for reading this (exceptionally long) post! My dogs mean the world to me, including this sweet little foster girl. I have never tried apple in my chicken salad before – so thank you for the inspiration!!

    2 December, 2013

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