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Circassian Chicken

June 23, 2009

I have seen this recipe in a few places and wanted to try it.  It’s kind of a chicken salad-like recipe, but with a Mediterranean twist, and no mayonnaise.  Instead of mayo, the chicken is bound together with a mixture of garlic, paprika, soaked bread and walnuts.  I think it can pass as being South Beach-ish, but since the sauce contains some bread, it’s not 100% Phase 1.  The chicken salad was great last night while still warm, and might be even better today when it’s cold.  I would recommend eating it with a quick and easy Israeli salad, which I will post tomorrow, and pita chips.  It would also be great served on a bed of greens.  Serves 4.


3 pounds bone-in chicken breasts

1 quart chicken broth

1 1/4 c chopped walnuts

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 T olive oil

2 t paprika

1/2 t cayenne pepper

2 T chopped fresh parsley

2 slices white bread, crusts removed

1 lemon, juiced

Salt and pepper


Place chicken breasts skin side down in a pot and add chicken broth.  Cover, bring to a boil and lower heat.  Simmer chicken until it is cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove chicken breasts and let cook.

Meanwhile, tear bread into little pieces and place in a bowl.  Ladle 1 cup of the hot chicken broth over the bread and allow to soak in.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil and paprika in a small saucepan until you can smell the paprika.  Turn off heat and set aside.

In a food processor, combine walnuts, garlic, cayenne, 1/2 t of salt, 1 T parsley and the soaked bread.  Process until you have a chunky paste.  If the mixture is too thick and difficult to process, add more chicken broth until it reaches a paste.  Add paprika oil and process to combine.  Taste and add salt, if needed.

When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bone and shred chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Stir walnut mixture into chicken and add remaining 1 T parsley.  Mix and add lemon juice to taste (I used a whole lemon, but you might want less).

Serve cold or at room temperature.

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