This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Draper Valley Farms. All opinions are 100% mine.
Cherry Chicken Salad is the perfect combination of cherries, chicken, pecans, celery and a creamy, tangy sauce. It’s a fantastic summer party recipe for feeding big crowds!
Summers in the Pacific Northwest bring two of my favorite things: beautiful sunsets and fresh cherries. So when Draper Valley Farms challenged me to create a recipe using their RANGER® and ROXY™ products, I was excited. I mean, I love supporting local businesses (the chickens are raised in both Washington and Oregon and their processing plant is in Mount Vernon), their approach in raising chickens “the way nature intended,” and, well, I just love chicken!
I was reminded of one of my favorite recipes from childhood: chicken salad. I’ve already done a classic southern chicken salad recipe, but there’s many so many different delicious variations I’d be doing everyone a disservice stopping at just one.
Today’s recipe tastes very much like a classic fruit and nut chicken salad, but with a twist. It uses, you guessed it, northwest bing cherries. Combining those with chicken, a tangy sauce, celery and chopped pecans gives the perfect texture – a little soft, a little sweet, a little creamy, a little crunchy. The fresh tarragon adds that something extra (so don’t omit), and will leave your guests craving more!
Tips for making Cherry Chicken Salad:
If you’re battling the gorgeous but hot PNW summer, bake your chicken the night before and chill them until the next day. The cold chicken thighs are much easier to handle and you don’t have to worry about heating up the kitchen!
After slicing the cherries in half, place them flesh side down on thick or doubled up paper towels. This will absorb some of the cherry juice and keep your chicken salad from turning 50 shades of pink.
Pro-tip: cherry juice stains hands, fabric and surfaces very easily. Be sure to take care of any messes promptly and avoid wiping your hands on anything you don’t want stained.
Grab roughly 3lbs or two 1.5lb packages of RANGER® Free Range Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs when you do your shopping. (Click here to find where to buy RANGER® and ROXY™) I like them because they’re free range, Non-GMO Project Verified* and 100% Vegetarian fed with no antibiotics ever. *Chicken raised and fed a diet in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard for avoidance of genetically engineered ingredients.
And their trays are recyclable! I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of having to throw away meat and poultry packaging – it stinks up the trash and seems like unnecessary waste, so I’m glad Draper Valley Farms offers this!
Also, using thighs instead of breasts in this recipe makes the chicken extra juicy and flavorful and it’s super easy to dice, but if white meat is your jam, Draper Valley Farms offers boneless skinless chicken breasts in their RANGER® The Free Range Chicken line as well.
Fight the urge to eat this right away – I know, it looks amazing and controlling ourselves is difficult, but if you chill it for at least 2 hours the flavors will develop more and it will taste even better!
And don’t forget to follow Draper Valley Farms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for more recipes for RANGER® and ROXY™, coupons and promotions!
Until next time. X
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- 3lbs RANGER Free Range Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 lb fresh Northwest cherries
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 c. pecans, chopped
- 1 c. mayonnaise
- 1 c. sour cream
- 3 TB fresh tarragon, minced
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Bake in a single layer on a sheet pan for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165°F.
- Remove and let cool, or chill overnight, before dicing them into small bite size pieces – about 1/2″ square.
- Pit the cherries and remove the stems, then slice in half and place flesh side down on a folded paper towel. Set aside for 5 minutes while it absorbs the excess juice.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced chicken, halved cherries, celery and pecans. In another smaller bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, tarragon, salt and pepper. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken mixture and mix well until everything is nicely coated.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop and serve with crackers, on fresh bread or croissants.
Tarragon has tough, woody stems so only use the leaves
Cherry juice stains very easily, so clean up any messes promptly
Bake the chicken thighs the night before if you’re concerned about heating up the kitchen.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Salads
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cherry chicken salad, northwest cherry chicken salad, fruit and nut chicken salad