Cilantro-Lime Jalapeño Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is a classic that can be flipped in many ways - it’s so versatile! My twist on the traditional chicken salad is surprisingly refreshing - with a zesty bite from fresh lime juice and cilantro, and a kick from a dash of cumin. 

I usually take a shortcut and shred up some Costco rotisserie chicken. It’s quick, easy, and half the work is already done for you! However, this time around, I decided to start from scratch and cook the chicken myself, starting the layering of flavors from the beginning. This recipe will show you how to poach chicken, dress it up, and serve it for your friends and family. I even included two different serving methods. Halve and season a fresh, ripe avocado and spoon mounds of the creamy chicken salad on top, or split open a few King’s Hawaiian Rolls for easy individual servings. Of course, you can serve these on any variety of great breads - I suggest a nice French or Italian bread :)

Sounds hard, but is actually pretty simple and quick. You’ll love these great flavors! Let’s cook :)

What You Need: 

2 large skinless chicken breasts 

Poaching liquid - enough to cover your chicken breasts. About 2 cups chicken stock (or 1 cup chicken stock, one cup water), 2 stalks of celery, 1 carrot, 1 small yellow onion, fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper)

1 jalapeño, diced

4 tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 lime, juiced,

¼ red onion, diced

About 1/3 cup mayo (to taste - you may need more depending on the size of your chicken breasts)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp cumin

Salt & pepper

For Serving:

Ripe avocados

Hawaiian Rolls or other bread

What To Do:

- Season each chicken breast liberally with salt and pepper. 

- Wash and chop your onion, celery, and carrot into large, even sized chunks, about 1" pieces.

- Place the chicken breasts into a medium pot. Dump the chopped onion, celery, and carrots into the pot.

- Wash your fresh thyme. The best way to remove thyme from it’s stem is to hold the thyme between your fingers with your right hand, and use your fingers to glide backwards down the stem. The leaves of thyme will fall right off. Discard the stem. Sprinkle about 1 tsp of fresh thyme over your chicken.

- To poach your chicken: Pour your liquid over the chicken until it is completely covered. Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat and cover the pot partially. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. This is to ensure that the chicken doesn’t become rubbery. Set a timer!

- After 10 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the chicken remain in the liquid for 15 minutes. Afterwards, remove the chicken and place them on a chopping board to cool. Save the liquid for future use :)

- While the chicken cools, prep your other ingredients. Dice your jalapeño and red onion into a tiny dice. Roughly chop the cilantro. 

- Once the chicken is cooled, use two forks to shred the meat. Place the shredded chicken into a large mixing bowl. 

- Add the mayo, Dijon, cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper, and stir to incorporate completely. Add more mayo and lime if necessary. 

- Mix in the red onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Remember to taste it to adjust salt and pepper! Cover your mixture and throw it in the fridge for a while to let the flavors meld. 

- Serve your zesty chicken salad on top of ripe avocados or on a nice toasted sandwich. 

See! Not too hard, right? This recipe is a nice twist on the normal chicken salad…perfect for summer bbqs and leisurely lunches. :)