Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Up North" Cherry Chicken Salad

Here in magnificent Michigan anywhere North of the middle of the mitten is "Up North" and that's where you'll find Michiganders going Cherry Crazy each and every July at the National Cherry Festival in the charming lakeside resort town of Traverse City.

See what I mean?

At nearly every local restaurant and deli you will find some kind of Cherry Chicken Salad on the menu. It's like a Northern Michigan Summer staple. After sampling my share and with all the house-guests we have in Summer I decided it was high time for this hostess (trying to be hip) to make this at home.

Served up as a sandwich...

or piled on a plate of greens from the very first bite, this just says Summer!

This recipe is a variation of many I've found. They're basically the same with a bit of optional ingredients here and there. So here's The Hip Hostess version:


Serves 6

4 cooked & diced boneless chicken breasts

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup diced celery

1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoon buttermilk*

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand you can substitute

1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup

*For this recipe I just added ¼ tsp lemon juice to the milk.

Optional ingredients:

1/3 cup diced apples

1/3 cup diced pears

¼ cup green scallions

¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped


This is so easy breezy; just mix the cooked chicken, dried cherries, celery, nuts, and any optional ingredients. Add the milk and mayonnaise and toss well. Keep in the fridge until nicely chilled. This recipe can be made a day ahead, in fact it’s even better the next day. Serve as a main dish salad on a bed of fresh greens, or as a sandwich on a croissant, or whole grain bread. This also makes a super summer appetizer when served on crackers or crostini.

By the way, just wondering.... do other states use the phrase "Up North" too?