Chicken Macaroni Salad (Filipino-Style)
A rich salad that has a hint of tartness, sweetness and creaminess that pairs well with savory dishes or as an anytime snack by itself.
- 1 ½ cups dry uncooked macaroni pasta I used Barilla
- 1 small can pineapple tidbits well drained
- ½ cup cheddar cheese cut in small cubes (I used extra old cheddar)
- 1 carrot finely diced
- 2 pcs chicken breasts cooked and flaked
- 1 apple cut in small cubes
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups mayo use 1 ½ cups if you want it creamier
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup condensed milk**
To cook chicken breast : Place chicken in a pot and add enough water to cover it by half an inch (over the chicken). Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 small onion (halved) and ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for 30 minutes (if chicken is bone-in). Simmer for about 15 minutes if using boneless chicken. Remove the scum that rises to the top while it’s coming up to a boil. Make sure chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the liquid then flake using 2 forks. Set aside to cool. (Reserve chicken broth for another use)
Cook the pasta according to package direction. Add a teaspoon of salt to the cooking liquid. Drain and give it a quick rinse to stop the cooking. Transfer to a big bowl to completely cool.
Once cool, add the rest of the ingredients including the flaked chicken then gently (but thoroughly) mix to combine. It may look runny at first but once it’s refrigerated, the pasta will absorb most of the liquid. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid (or cover tightly with plastic wrap). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. I find it best to serve the next day so the flavors are well absorbed by the pasta. Serve cold.
*Make sure that the flaked chicken and pasta are completely cool before mixing with the other ingredients.
**You can omit the condensed milk if you don’t want any hint of sweetness but I suggest you add it to the salad to balance the tartness from the pickles. After refrigeration, the sweetness will significantly mellow.