Don’t you love those broccoli and bacon slaws that show up at every picnic and family gathering during the Summer? You know the ones with broccoli, bacon, plump raisins, mayo and a dash of whatever the cook felt like tossing in? Yeah, I do too! I love the crunch of the broccoli and the tartness of the mayonnaise then the surprise of a juicy golden raisin every so often. It’s one of those things I’d store in the back of the fridge so I didn’t have to share it with anyone. That was the starting inspiration for this salad, yes, I know there are no raisins and there is blue cheese but you can see the similarities right?
I started out with thick cut bacon that I chopped before cooking. You could use any bacon you have on hand. I personally love it when I go to the store and stumble across one of those huge packages of ‘ends and pieces’ of bacon, I mean that is gold for recipes and you don’t feel like you are using up your hubby’s or the kid’s breakfast in a chicken salad or whatever.
I had a little bacon grease left over from breakfast so I went ahead and used it to cook the bacon pieces, I find that it helps it to get extra crispy and wonderful. Have you ever noticed when you are cooking more than one batch of bacon, how the second panful cooks better? It’s because of the bacon fat already in the pan, kind of like deep frying your bacon, but that’s a whole different recipe!
Look at that crispy golden deliciousness! Drain it on a paper towel and let it cool. Try ever so hard to not nom nom on all of it before assembling the salad. The next time I do this I’m going to make extra just so I don’t have to practice restraint.
Cut your fresh broccoli into bite sized pieces and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper the pieces if you wish. I wished. Roast them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Stay close to them and check them often. You want them to just begin to brown on the edges, not like what I did.
I still haven’t gotten used to my new oven, and the ‘convection roast’ feature is faster than I thought. My broccoli was a little crunchy, but it was what I had. See? No panicking, no freaking out and running out of the kitchen, just roll with it, no one will know it wasn’t supposed to be that way unless you confess. Which I just did. But really, it was okay.
Chop up some onion. I had a Vidalia on hand but really think a lovely red onion would have brought some nice heat and crunch to this salad. So yeah, Red Onion if you have it, if not use whatever you have even green onions! I’d use green and white parts and that would give great color and flavor.
Toss the bacon, broccoli and onion in a bowl large enough to hold all your ingredients, I used a large mixing bowl.
I had most of a whole chicken that I had poached in the crock pot a day ago. I had no real plans for this birdy, I just cooked it because I wanted to make a bone broth.
I pulled most of the skin off this chicken for the salad, IF I had cooked it in the oven or the rotisserie, I would have left some of the crispy skin on but poached chicken skin is a little yucky if you ask me, but if you like it, go for it. Just be sure if you are including chicken skin, that the chicken is a great quality chicken, hormone free and cage free. The fat of an animal tends to collect all the undesirables that you really don’t want to ingest.
Chop or shred your chicken. If you poached it like I did, it will be softer and as you mix the salad it will sort of break down into a shred, so just chop it. If you roasted or rotisseried your chicken, it’s going to be a little sturdier, so if you want your chicken salad to be shredded, now is the time to shred it.
I used a whole container of Bleu Cheese, about six ounces I think. You may want to adjust that amount depending on how much you like Bleu Cheese! I used a combination of Mayo and Mexican Crema for the dressing. Hindsight being 20/20, I’d use Mayo alone or with sour cream the next time. The Crema gave a lovely moisture but the flavor wasn’t what I wanted. I have purchased a similar product that was MUCH thicker than this jar and it had a distinctly salty, buttery flavor to it, like butter, cream cheese and heavy cream mixed together. THAT is what I was hoping for, so without that product (I can’t remember the name of it!) I’d go for sour cream.
Now comes the part that I didn’t photograph, the mixing and tasting. As I tasted, I added salt. I use Pink Himalayan salt these days for its amazing health benefits and its wonderful flavor! I also added some granulated garlic. I hadn’t intended to use garlic, thinking the cheese would bring a ton of flavor, but it didn’t, so garlic to taste.
Then I added the magic. First in the interest of total disclosure, this product may or may not be totally Primal. I count it as a cheat. I have it in my fridge and it brings a lot to the party, so there, go ahead and judge me if you need to. Any hot sauce will do, but this has a distinct Buffalo flavoring to it and that is what I was going for. Everyone likes a different heat and intensity of flavor, so pour it in and stir and taste. Start small, you can always add but you can never take it out. IF you get too much and the flavor is too hot, try adding a little heavy cream. Dairy products help cool down the heat in your mouth.
Spoon this on lettuce leaves or straight onto a plate and enjoy. I prefer to let mine chill a bit in the fridge to mellow the flavors but it isn’t necessary.
Recipe Ingredient Recap:
Sour cream/Mexican Crema
olive oil (for roasting the broccoli)
Granulated Garlic, Salt and Pepper