Traditionally, many Jewish families from poor regions in eastern Europe had to become creative to feed their families during Shabbat. It was important for them to make the food special, but this required that they purchase more expensive ingredients. In order to afford these ingredients, absolutely nothing could go to waste - and that meant, for example, eating every part of a chicken in various chicken dishes throughout Shabbat.
When Richard Hellmann, a Jewish immigrant from Germany, came to New York and opened a deli in the early 1900s, he kept this same mindset. He began making chicken salad with his wife's homemade mayonnaise, and it was instantly a hit! Try this receipe for classic Jewish chicken salad below.
- 1 cut up whole chicken, cooked (preferably stewed for soup)
- 1 ¼ cups finely diced celery
- 3 or more carrots
- 1 tablespoon grated onion or more to your taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½-1 cup of Hellmann’s mayonnaise
Skin the chicken and pull the meat off the bones. This is easy to do if the chicken is warm.
Shred the chicken with your fingers to make sure no bone is present. Place chicken in a 3 quart bowl.
Dice the celery and add it to the chicken.
Peel the carrots, cut off the tip, and holding on to the big end, grate the carrots into the bowl with the chicken and the celery. Discard top of the carrot.
Add remaining ingredients and mix with a fork or spoon until well blended and moistened. Use as much of the mayonnaise, or more, to create the texture you want. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve: Turn bowl with chicken salad upside down onto a serving plate. Remove bowl and wrap and, using a small spreader or back of a spoon, coat with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Serve with crackers or rolls or on a sandwich.