The Vintage Cookie

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Still too hot to cook - a chicken sallad from 1839

Chicken Sallad (The Kentucky Housewife, pp. 123-124. facsimile ed. Applewood Publications)

Too hot to bake again today, and family coming over for dinner. I was poking about again in The Kentucky Housewife and the recipe for chicken sallad looked extremely promising, both simple to accomplish and likely to be tasty. My guests apparently agreed; four adults polished off all but 1/2 cup of the "sallad."

I started with a plain rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. I served the sallad with potato rolls, instead of "slices of light bread," but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. For reference, a gill is 4 oz, or half a cup. I mixed the dressing with my Korean mortar and pestle, but a food processor would also work great. I used a French mustard containing only mustard seed, water, salt, and vinegar. I dribbled the oil and vinegar in slowly, probably slower than was necessary. Equal parts oil and vinegar may seem like too much vinegar, but the dressing came out very nicely. Mrs. Bryan is also right about serving right after mixing; when I ate the leftovers this morning, the chicken had gotten very mushy, and the celery was still very crunchy, which threw off the texture. Taste was still great.

And without more ado, here is the recipe:

"Take a fine young fowl, season it well, and either boil or roast it till it is very tender; set it by to cool; then take off the skin and mince the meat fine from the bones. Wash two large heads of celery, cut the white part into small pieces, mix them with the minced fowl, put the mixture into a covered dish, and set it by till the dressing is prepared, which should not be put on till a few minutes before it is sent to table, as it has a tendency to harden both the chicken and the sallad, and make them tough. For the dressing, take the yolks of six hard boiled eggs; mash them to a smooth paste with a spoon, add to it half a tea-spoonful of fine salt, half a tea-spoonful of cayenne pepper, half a gill of made mustard [1/4 cup], a gill of vinegar and one of sweet oil [1/2 cup of each]. Mix all these ingredients well together, mashing and stirring them till they become very smooth; then pour it over the chicken and sallad, and mix them thoroughly together. Send it to the table in a deep dish, accompanied with slices of light bread neatly spread with butter, also crackers, grated tongue, oysters, etc.

1 comment:

  1. Hi folks,
    I have now made this recipe three times - which is my unofficial threshold for declaring a recipe part of my permanent repertoire. I like it best on a potato roll. When making ahead, keep dressing and chopped chicken/celery mix separate until just before serving. Nice when pared with a sharp, vinegary salad.