Circassian chicken

Circassian chicken

Çerkez tavuğu

Eat Istanbul
David Loftus

This is a famed Turkish dish, a bit like Coronation Chicken and often eaten as a mezze. It’s a brilliant buffet option for a crowd.


Quantity Ingredient
1 whole chicken
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, including stems
4 whole cloves
4 whole peppercorns
1 garlic clove, peeled
100ml milk
5 slices stale ciabatta-style white bread, crusts removed and roughly torn
180g shelled walnuts
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 teaspoon paprika, fried in a little olive oil
a few roughly chopped walnuts
simple green salad, (optional)


  1. Put the chicken in a large saucepan over medium heat and cover it with cold water. Add the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, parsley, cloves, peppercorns and 1 tablespoon of sea salt and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface with a slotted spoon. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a wooden board and leave it to cool. Remove the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, parsley, cloves and peppercorns from the pan with a slotted spoon and discard. Reserve the chicken stock.
  2. When the chicken has cooled, peel off the skin and shred or tear the chicken into strips. Place it in a bowl.
  3. Use a pestle and mortar to pound the garlic clove and ½ tablespoon sea salt to a paste.
  4. Put the milk and stale bread in a bowl and leave it to soak for 5 minutes. Put the walnuts in a food processor and blend them to a rough paste. Add the garlic paste and soaked bread, season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and blend again to a rough paste. Add about 150ml of the chicken stock and blend to a smooth paste.
  5. Combine this mixture with the chicken and mix it with your hands or a spoon. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. To serve, drizzle with the paprika oil and sprinkle with the roughly chopped walnuts. Accompany with a simple green salad, if desired.
Turkish food
Middle Eastern
Andy Harris
David Loftus
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