Circassian Chicken

  • Preparation Time10 mins
  • Cooking Time70 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyMedium

For the chicken:

1 free range chicken weighing approximately 1.8kg with the skin on
1.75 litres of water or just enough water to cover the chicken
1 carrot roughly chopped
1 celery stick roughly chopped
1 onion studded with 4-6 cloves
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley stalks bruised and tied together
4-6 allspice berries
8 peppercorns
4-6 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds
Salt and pepper to season

For the sauce:

3-4 slices of bread with crusts removed
200ml milk
200g walnuts
70g almonds
70g pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to season
Juice of ½ lemon

For the garnish:

2 tbsp walnut oil/ butter
1 tsp paprika preferably the Turkish paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
Few sprigs of coriander roughly chopped
8-10 toasted walnut halves
Lemon wedges for serving

1. Put the chicken into a deep pot with all the ingredients for the stock.

2. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until the chicken is tender.

3. Remove the chicken from the pan and leave until its cool enough to handle.

4. In the meantime, reduce the stock with the pan uncovered approximately 10 minutes.

5. Strain the stock and season with salt and pepper. You'll need about 250ml of stock. Any excess stock can be set aside just in case it’s needed to thin the consistency of the sauce.

6. Once the chicken has cooled down slightly, remove the skin and discard.

7. Tear the chicken flesh into thin strips and place in a bowl. Discard the bones.

For the sauce:

1. To make the sauce, soak the bread in the milk until it has absorbed, then put into the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients and the 250ml stock.

2. Blend until smooth and creamy.

3. Remove and pour the sauce over the chicken and mix thoroughly.

4. Spoon the chicken mixture onto a flat serving dish and mound it like a pyramid.

For the butter garnish:

1. Heat the oil/ butter until warm not smoking.

2. Stir in the paprika and chilli flakes stirring only once.

3 Pour it over the chicken in a cross shape in the Istanbul fashion.

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