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Step back in time with Magnolia Room’s chicken and frozen fruit salads

The Magnolia Room was a dining destination in the old downtown Rich’s department store. Shown dining in October of 1982 are Nancy Richter (left to right), Debbie Morse, Terry Allen and Neil Bell. AJC file
The Magnolia Room was a dining destination in the old downtown Rich’s department store. Shown dining in October of 1982 are Nancy Richter (left to right), Debbie Morse, Terry Allen and Neil Bell. AJC file

Credit: Charles Pugh

Credit: Charles Pugh

MAGNOLIA ROOM (CLOSED)

Formerly located in the Rich’s department store downtown

Q: I know it must be hard to get recipes from restaurants that are no longer open, but ever since they closed the Rich's downtown store and the Magnolia Room, I have thought many times about the Chicken Salad Amandine with Frozen Fruit Salad that they served there for so many years. It was always such a special time to go there and have that for lunch. Do you think it would be possible to get that recipe? I would love to serve that to guests. — Mrs. Alva Robinson, Atlanta

A: You are right. It's not easy to get a recipe from a restaurant that's closed. However, we lucked out with the Magnolia Room's signature chicken salad that so many people enjoyed for so long. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Food section published the recipe in 1993, and Rich's public relations department also happens to have a copy of the recipe, so here it is.

Paul Conway Executive Chef at the Top of the Plaza restaurant in Decatur with some menu selections from his restaurant. Clockwise from top, the second dish is a re-creation of Rich’s Magnolia Room dish with Chicken Salad Amandine and Frozen Fruit Salad. AJC file
Paul Conway Executive Chef at the Top of the Plaza restaurant in Decatur with some menu selections from his restaurant. Clockwise from top, the second dish is a re-creation of Rich’s Magnolia Room dish with Chicken Salad Amandine and Frozen Fruit Salad. AJC file

Credit: KIMBERLY SMITH

Credit: KIMBERLY SMITH

Rich’s Chicken Salad Amandine With Frozen Fruit Salad

Makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Freezing time: 3 hours

Standing time: 15 minutes

For the chicken salad:

3 1/2 pounds chicken breasts

Salt to taste

6 ribs celery, diced

1/2 cup pickle relish

1 1/2 teaspoons ground white pepper

2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds

For the frozen fruit salad:

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (8 3/4-ounce) can sliced peaches, well-drained

1/2 cup maraschino cherry halves, well-drained

1 (30-ounce) can fruit cocktail, well-drained

1 (6 1/2-ounce) can crushed pineapple, well-drained

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

A few drops food coloring (optional)

For chicken salad: Boil chicken breasts in lightly salted water until meat is tender. Reserve stock for future use. Let chicken cool. Separate meat from bones and skin; leave chicken in medium-size strips. Fold celery, pickle relish and pepper into mayonnaise. Fold chicken into mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Garnish with almond slices.

For fruit salad: Put cream cheese in mixer. Add confectioners' sugar and blend in mayonnaise. Add vanilla extract. Fold in fruit and marshmallows. Whip cream and gently fold into fruit mixture. Add food coloring, if desired. Ladle into large paper souffle cups or muffin liners. Freeze immediately. Defrost 15 minutes before serving. Do not allow to get soft. Remove souffle cups or muffin liners before serving.

Per serving (both chicken salad and fruit salad): 788 calories, 39 grams protein, 50 grams fat (percent calories from fat, 57), 49 grams carbohydrates, 149 milligrams cholesterol, 1,139 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.