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Mama G's Pecan and Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

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Cooked meat and mayonnaise type salads were popular in America from colonial times. European settlers brought these traditions to our shores. Chicken salad - is any salad consisting of chicken made with other common ingredients. Like a creamy garlic sauce, sweet onions and whole grain mustard. As well, as citrus and lime. Often, served on a bed of butter lettuce, or with heirloom tomatoes.

Mama G's Pecan and Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Yield: 4
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cooking Time: 30 min


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ lemon or lime juiced and zested
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream. Not "light" pretty please
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and medium diced. Uniform cuts matter.
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions. More to taste if preferred
  • 3 tablespoons pecans, chopped. More if desired.
  • 1 bushel flat leaf parsley, chopped finely.


  1. Preheat large cast-iron pan to medium high
  2. Take chicken from refrigerator 1/2 hour before cooking. Butterfly chicken.
  3. Chicken will have a thick side. Evenly pound the chicken a few times with a mallet.
  4. Coat room temperature chicken with olive oil. Not the pan
  5. Sprinkle chicken on one side with salt and pepper from up high
  6. Put chicken into hot pan seasoned side down.
  7. Salt and pepper the chicken again on side facing up
  8. Let chicken sear 2 - 3 minutes. Don't move the chicken.
  9. When the edges of chicken look opaque, it's time to turn. Do not overcook.
  10. Turn chicken and cook 2 - 3 more minutes depending on stove tops.
  11. Temperature should be at 165 degrees.
  12. Remove from pan and allow to rest for 6 to 8 minutes.
  13. Slice chicken against the grain. This is key to tender texture.
  14. Put in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  15. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together with a spoon until combined.
  16. Add sauce to the chicken and fold to combine.

Recipe Tags

Mama's How-to:
Parsley. One of the world’s most popular herbs. Peppery with a hint of anise when used by itself. Added to chicken salad is delicious. Flat-leaf Italian parsley works best for cooking.

Seared chicken makes perfect chicken salad. With simple techniques you are on your way.

1. Pre-heat cast-iron, medium high

2. Room temperature chicken dried with a paper towel is important. Wet chicken salad will not keep them running back for seconds.
3. Butterfly chicken. This gives you thinner pieces. Thick pieces will need to be finished off in the oven and, oh my, that's a whole other set of instructions.
4. If chicken is too plump on one end just give It a good strong tap to even the slice. Because, you want even cooking.
5. When edges of chicken become opaque it is time to turn. You have no idea how this tip will help prevent over cooking chicken. You're Welcome!
6. Pretty please do not pour hot oil into a cast-iron that has overheated or you will be serving dinner to the fire department.
7. Let chicken rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Slice against the grain. "Now you’re cooking."
If you have questions whilst cooking, message me @ Facebook What’s Cooking? With Mama G.

"Happy Food To Eat"

With, Love, Mama G.

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