Ensalada de Gallina is a very traditional Venezuelan dish served on a wide variety of occasions. My mom and grandma always prepare it as part of the holiday spread, presented all dressed up in a beautiful bowl. However, you’re just as likely to find it sold by street vendors and at casual areperas layered with slices of avocado in the popular arepa sandwich called La Reina Pepiada.
My mom and grandma taught me how to prepare it the traditional way. The only problem is that the proper way requires a lot of chopping and long cooking times to prepare the chicken and all of the individual vegetables. Sometimes, a day of cooking can be incredibly satisfying…but sometimes you just want the taste of home without all the hassle. I’ve come up with a quick and tasty version that requires minimal cooking thanks to little tricks like using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a microwave. With the help of pre-packaged shredded carrots and a box grater, there’s no chopping. I also managed to lighten it up a little bit from the original by swapping out some of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.
Read Related: Crunchy Jicama & Avocado Tuna Salad
VENEZUELAN-STYLE CHICKEN SALAD (ENSALADA DE GALLINA)
Makes: 6, ½ cup servings
1lb whole cooked rotisserie chicken
1 c prepackaged shredded carrots
1 c fresh or frozen green peas
1 medium Idaho potato
1 medium Granny Smith apple
3 celery stalks
½ small to medium yellow onion
1/3 c whole grain mustard
1/3 c reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
¼ c light mayonnaise
4 T apple cider vinegar, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- If the chicken is warm from the store, allow it to cool.
- Remove the skin and shred the meat.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the shredded carrots and blanch until crisp tender, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Drain the carrots and shock under cold running water to stop the cooking process.
- Set aside.
- Add the peas to the boiling water.
- Follow the same process: blanch until tender-crisp (approximately 3-5 minutes) and then shock under cold water. (If using frozen peas, simply thaw.)
- Set aside.
- Wash the potato well and cut several slits across the surface.
- Place on a microwave safe dish and cook on full power until the potato is tender and fully cooked, turning the potato over half way through (approximately 8-10 minutes total).
- Allow the potato to cool.
- Once cool enough to handle, split the potato in half and scoop out the insides.
- Lightly break-up into small pieces with a fork.
- Set aside.
- Peel the apple.
- Shred with a box grater over a cutting board, using a medium grate.
- Set aside in bowl with a couple of tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar to prevent browning.
- Cut the ends off the celery stalks and shred with the fine grate of the box grater.
- If long fibers remain after grating, roughly chop with a knife.
- Add to the bowl with the apples.
- Peel the onion half, shred over the medium grate of the box grater.
- Add to the apple mixture.
- In a separate bowl combine the mustard, yogurt, and mayonnaise.
- If the mixture seems thicker than desired, loosen with a couple of tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, begin to combine all ingredients, gradually incorporating the mustard mixture.
- Mix until all ingredients are well combined and lightly coated with the dressing.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- This chicken salad is traditionally served on an arepa with avocado slices, stuffed in a wrap or in a pita bread, or on its own.