I am a sucker for a good picnic. In my neck of the woods in Mexico, picnics are close to impossible to have, it's way too hot and unless you have them under a good shade, they're even dangerous as sunstroke is not a thing to take lightly. When I moved to Ireland I was starved of picnics, so the first few years I had as many as I could, although I soon realised that the idilic picture of a picnic was quite impractical: the basket, the foods, the drinks, the blanket, the sweet treats, the ice bucket, the views... you would need a legion of carriers up the steep hill of Wicklow Mountains for that! My back is not what it used to be, so sitting on the floor for long periods is close to impossible... our picnics now are much easier, much more improvised and practical, but there is one thing I can never skip from a picnic: the Chicken Salad.
Ensalada de Pollo, or chicken salad, has a very retro feel for me. It has an evocative 1960's ring to it and it is super tasty. It is perfect for the hot days of summer as you can have it in sandwiches or with crackers; it has the added benefit of being quite simple and easy to make. It keeps really well in the fridge and every time I have it, I feel nostalgic and a little homesick for my childhood. My version of it isn't one hundred percent traditional, but it is the way my mother always made it. I love its creaminess and freshness. I make it quite a lot in Ireland as it is handy for packed lunches and of course for picnics!
Put the chicken breasts (skin and everything) in a pot with the garlic, bay leave and salt and covered with water. Turn the heat on and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and cover the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. When the chicken is ready, take it out, discard the skin and bones before shredding the meat onto a plate.
While the chicken cooks, peel and cube the carrot and potatoes. Try and chop them roughly the same size. When you have them ready, boil them for 8-12 minutes in separate pots full of water. You want them cooked, but still firm. Be careful not to boil your potatoes too much so that they go to mush! When ready drain them, rinse them with cold water and set aside.
In a big bowl, mix the mayonnaise, salad cream and yogurt well. Season with salt and pepper before adding the chopped jalapeno peppers.
Add the celery, apple, carrots and chicken and mix well. Finally fold in the cooked potatoes carefully making sure you don't over mix it as this may cause the potatoes to break and go into mush. The chicken salad is ready to enjoy!
We love this salad sandwiched between two slices of soft, white bread. Give it a try, it's delicious!