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Circassian Chicken

Circassian chicken is a classic meze always found on the hors d’oeuvre plate. As this dish is preprepared and eaten cold it is an indispensable dish both in restaurants, and among a variety of dishes adorning tables in homes. Thinly shredded boiled chicken meat is mixed with a sauce that includes walnuts, garlic and stale bread; this is Circassian cuisine’s equivalent to the ancient, traditional tarator sauce. As it includes the superfoods walnuts and chicken, this is a highly nourishing dish. As the whole chicken is cooked together with its skin and bones, it is even tastier. The chicken broth is used for soup or rice pilaf. In this respect, this is an excellent example of a zero waste kitchen.

Serves 6

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • ¼ bunch parsley stems
  • ½ loaf of stale bread
  • 200 ml milk
  • 250 g walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed


  1. Remove and place the chicken thighs in the
    refrigerator to be used for another dish.
  2. Place the rest of the chicken, the onion, carrot and
    parsley stems in a wide saucepan cover the chicken
    with water and cook over a medium heat for 40
    minutes. Skim off the foam and cook until the
    chicken is very tender.
  3. Discard the crust of the bread, slice and soak the
    bread slices in 100 ml milk. Remove small portions
    of the bread from the milk and squeeze well. Grind
    the bread, walnuts and paprika in a food
  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave to cool.
  5. Gently heat and mash the ground walnut mixture
    in a pan over a low heat. Transfer to a gauze cloth
    and squeeze to drain the walnut oil into a bowl.
    Leave aside for use as a garnish.
  6. Put the walnut mixture back in the pan and dilute
    this with 3 ladles of chicken broth.
  7. Heat the mixture and add salt, black pepper and
    crushed garlic.
  8. Once the mixture thickens, add 100 ml milk and
    bring to the boil for another 2-3 minutes. Remove
    from the heat and leave until lukewarm.
  9. Remove the chicken meat from the bones and
    shred. Season with salt and black pepper and pour
    the lukewarm sauce over the chicken.
  10. Mix well and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle
    with the walnut oil and serve.

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