Cherry Chicken Salad Recipe
Door County Cherry Chicken Salad
As peculiar as it may sound, I first discovered the wonderful flavors and textures of cherry chicken salad while conducting all-day computer training sessions for pharmaceutical sales reps in the Chicago area. Each day the reps were served a rather delicious meal.
One particular lunch included a chicken salad wrap. I figured it would be pretty good, but when I bit into it, I discovered that it was better than any chicken salad sandwich I had ever eaten before. The flavors were delicious and light, and the surprising crunch made it really enjoyable to eat.
In order to try to duplicate this chicken salad, I unwrapped it and made note of some of the ingredients—nuts, grapes, a sweet dried fruit—perhaps cherry. It was so good that the next day I put my own recipe for cherry chicken salad together. I've since learned that what I had eaten at lunch that day is actually called Door County chicken salad. Door County, Wisconsin, about four hours north of Chicago and two hours north of Milwaukee, is known for its cherry orchards, annual cherry festival, and really, all things cherry.
- 3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup green onion, chopped
- 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup pecans, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Shred or chop cooked chicken. I like to use a lightly seasoned rotisserie chicken to save time.
- Chop the celery and green onions.
- Toast the pecans under broil in the oven for 2 minutes. Let them cool and then chop.
- Cut grapes in half lengthwise.
- Combine all chopped ingredients in a large bowl and add the dried cherries. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper to make the dressing. I prefer to use a light mayonnaise to reduce the number of calories.
- Add the dressing to the bowl of chicken and other chopped ingredients. Mix.
- Refrigerate the chicken salad for 2-3 hours or so, giving the flavors time to combine.
- This very versatile chicken salad recipe can be rolled up in a wrap, made into a sandwich, or is excellent on a croissant.
- It makes a light, flavorful summer dinner served on top a bed of greens.
- Serve with summer fruits and vegetables.
- Dried cranberries, raisins or apples can be substituted for cherries or grapes.
Door County Lighthouse
Cherries in Door County, WI
About Door County, WI
Door County, situated east of Green Bay and protruding out into Lake Michigan in northern Wisconsin, is an incredibly scenic peninsula, with shops, restaurants, galleries, golf courses, parks, farm stands, campsites, and of course, acres of cherry orchards.
As expected, Door County cherry chicken salad is easy to find at numerous local eateries.
With over 250 miles of shoreline, water activities and fishing make this a wonderful place for anyone that loves the outdoors and authentic fish boils are commonplace. 10 lighthouses dot the shore along with marinas, rocky beaches, and sandy beaches.
Dubbed "The Secret Paradise of the Midwest," Money Magazine selected Door County as one of its 10 perfect places in North America to spend a summer holiday saying,
...Wisconsin's Door County remains, for the most part, a jealously guarded secret.
The majority of visitors are "weekenders" traveling north from Milwaukee and Chicago.
Visitors and locals alike enjoy the Festival of the Blooms, held each year during May. The cherry picking season begins in late July and into August. Be sure and check out www.doorcounty.com to learn more about Wisconsin's hidden gem.