How to Make The Famous Chicken Salad Ina Garten Sold "Mountains of" at the Barefoot Contessa

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Ina Garten is one of the people we trust to know how just one ingredient can elevate an entire dish. With a culinary track record unlike no other, Garten is the Queen of opening your eyes to possibilities in the kitchen, which is why her recipe for Mustard Chicken Salad caught our attention.

Sure, it's called Mustard Chicken Salad, but there was something else we noticed when she was putting together this dish. In a video that was recently shared to the Food Network's YouTube channel, Garten demonstrates the recipe, which she made “mountains of” at her Barefoot Contessa specialty food store. As she made the dressing we saw mayo and two kinds of mustard (Dijon and whole-grain), but it was the other dressing ingredient—dry white wine—that really stood out.

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Why You Should Use White Wine to Make Chicken Salad

Ina isn't a fan of the “gloppy mayonnaise texture” that some chicken salad has, so she likes to thin the dressing with white wine. Garten says the wine adds flavor and helps the dressing act “more like a cream sauce than a mayonnaise sauce.” Chicken stock and vinegar would also work well in this scenario if you happen to not have white wine handy.

White wine and chicken are a classic pairing and using some white wine in the dressing for the chicken salad also means that you have some handy to serve with the dish when you're done.

In addition to the wine tip, Garten also encourages cooks to make their chicken salad while the chicken is still warm because “warm chicken will absorb the sauce.” Speaking of sauce, Garten recommends adding a small amount, then adding more if needed. You want to have enough sauce to moisten the chicken but not so much that the chicken is drowning in sauce. “You can always add more, so I always add less to start,” she says.

Related: 25 Classic Ina Garten Recipes to Make All the Time

How to Make Ina Garten's Chicken Salad

If you want to make your chicken salad just like Ina, follow these steps. On a sheet pan, drizzle a few bone-in chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Remember, it will cook further as it rests on the countertop. Once cooled, remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin and dice the chicken into large bite-sized pieces.

Blanch 2 cups of broccoli florets in salted boiling water for about 1 minute, until crisp and tender. Drain and place the florets into a bowl of ice water until cool. While the broccoli cools, whisk together mayonnaise, white wine, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. In another large bowl, combine the broccoli florets with 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes. Add in the diced chicken, then pour in the sauce until the chicken is well moistened. Mix until combined, then give it a taste. Garten thought it was missing a little something, so she added in some freshly chopped tarragon. Refrigerate for a few hours then serve at room temperature.

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