I guess I especially appreciate this slow and easy childhood now that I live with a Hurricane. (I’m not sure why; but that just changes everything, so I feel it must change this too.)
However, where I grew up is known for more than just its lazy rivers, its fantastic kayaking, its movie sets, ranches and city councilmen. It’s also known for its amazing pecan trees.
And these said gigantic pecan trees just so happen to grow the best pecans on the planet for the World’s Most Famous Pecan Chicken Salad.
The ancient recipe was initially stolen from Shasta, later adapted a bit for my pleasure, and currently coveted by many.
And here it is. For all you friends con queso. In honor of National Chicken Month (and Talk Like A Pirate Day), the recipe that rocks so much Casbah, it has its own zip code.
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups water
2 or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 pound seedless purple grapes, or more
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped fresh dill*
1.5 cups sour cream
1.5 cups mayonnaise
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
*It is essential that you use fresh dill.
No substitutions, exchanges or excuses.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in a shallow pan. In a separate pot on the stove, bring the water to a boil and add the bouillon. Stir to dissolve. Pour enough bouillon broth in the baking pan just to cover the chicken breasts. Cover with cooking parchment or aluminum foil and bake until cooked through, 30 minutes. Allow the chicken to cool in the liquid, then discard the liquid. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and place them in a large bowl. Add the grapes, pecans, celery and chopped dill and toss well. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream and mayo together. Toss this into the chicken salad. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
(It’s even better if you refrigerate it overnight.)