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McKee Chicken Salad

McKee Chicken Salad on a bed of greens with pomegranate for a splash of color.

Quite a few years ago I worked for one of the largest horse farms in the world, Winbak Farm. They have sometimes upwards of 1,600 horses  at one time, I kid you not. Founded in 1991 by Joe and JoAnn Thomson, Winbak Farm specializes in standing, breeding, raising and selling some of the best Standardbred horses around. Winbak’s flagship farm is located on 2,000+ acres of lush Maryland farmland, with operations extending into Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Canada. How do they have so many horses? Well they have  forty or so stallions (daddys) in all of those regions listed, they have 600+ broodmares (mommas), their weanlings (babies), then the yearlings (one year olds) before they go off to sale and their racehorses.

Winbak Farm horses in the early morning fog.

Sunset over Winbak Farm in Chesapeake City, Maryland.

So what does this have to do with food? A lot actually. The Thomson’s owned two places the locals loved to go, Chesapeake Wine and Spirits and the Kitty Knight House.  Both places are now no longer owned by them and absolutely do not hold up to the amazing standards they once had. I did visit the Kitty Knight House on my last trip to the area and was proven that the Thomson’s truly had the best food on their menus.

Crab Bisque at the Kitty Knight House. Yummy, but totally missing that special spark the old kitchens used to bring, and the big hunks of crab!

One of my favorite things to get from Chesapeake Wine and Spirits was their Chicken Salad. I’d order it by the pound and take it with me on picnics, or just enjoy it with at home with just a fork in hand. All I knew from being a regular there was that the special sauce contained egg yolks. After many years of holding out, I finally got my hands on the actual recipe and surprisingly enough, it’s SUPER easy to make. I did add in some of my own stuff, but the core recipe is absolutely fantastic and one the mayo and non-mayo lovers will rejoice.

Chicken Salad Sandwich using Wegmans’ Marathon Bread with Cranberries and Spinach.

Chicken Salad’s dry ingredients of shredded chicken, shallots and celery.

Finished chicken salad with the magical dressing.

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

McKee Family Chicken Salad
Serves 6
A new take on chicken salad, this sweet and full of flavor recipe is one for your picnics and tea parties.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 egg yolks
  2. 3/4 cup of sugar
  3. 1/2 cup of vinegar
  4. 2 tablespoons of dry mustard
  5. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  6. 1/2 cup of sliced almonds
  7. 1 1/2 cup of Kraft mayonnaise
  8. 3 cups of cooked and shredded chicken (white meat only)
  9. 1/2 cup of white seedless grapes
  10. 1/2 cup of celery, chopped
  11. 1/8 cup of shallots, chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix together egg yolks, sugar, vinegar, dried mustard and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once thickened to consistency of pudding, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a dry sauté pan, heat almonds till lightly toasted or until they give off a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  3. Add mayonnaise to the dressing, and set aside.
  4. Mix remaining salad ingredients together, including the almonds in a large bowl. Add dressing by the large spoonful until it coats everything completely. If you are not serving this right away, be sure to add extra spoonfuls of dressing as the tendency is for the chicken to dry out.
  5. Serve over mixed greens or serve as sandwich with your favorite accompaniments. Garnish with red grapes or pomegranate seeds for an extra burst of color.
Notes
  1. Shredded Chicken: I have found the best way to make the chicken for this recipe is to poach it on the stove until it is done. Typically, I'll add three large chicken breasts to a large pan, and add enough chicken broth to go halfway up the breasts. From there, I allow the chicken to cook on low heat with the cover slightly cracked, turning once during cooking. If you have the ability, you can also grill the chicken which will add another depth of flavor. Allow to cool completely after cooking to allow the juices to settle. Use in recipe as directed.
Adapted from Joe Thompson
Adapted from Joe Thompson
Eat Your Tarte Out | Baking, cooking and general shenanigans. http://www.eatyourtarteout.com/
Written by Tarte Chic

Author Kat Nielsen (formerly Kat Wojtylak) is a creative type with an immense love for food. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences.

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