Circassian chicken with paprika oil & walnut tarator

Circassian chicken with paprika oil & walnut tarator

Çerkez tavugu

By
From
Turkish Meze
Serves
4
Photographer
Alicia Taylor

Legend tells us that women of the Circassian region (or the Caucasus as it is known today) were famous for their beauty, and that this exotic dish is named for the pale complexions of the beautiful ladies in the Sultan’s harem, luxuriating in magnificent palaces back in the days of the Ottoman Empire.

For the best flavour, please use only the sweetest walnuts and the finest paprika in this simple recipe. This dish is amazing on the first day — and even better the next, served at room temperature as a meze or a main meal. The stock from poaching the chicken can be strained and frozen to be used in a pilaf or stew.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 small chicken, weighing about 1.4 kg
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 bay leaves

Paprika oil

Quantity Ingredient
20g butter
60ml olive oil
2 tablespoons sweet paprika

Walnut tarator

Quantity Ingredient
20g dry breadcrumbs
60g walnuts, crushed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g Yogurt

Method

  1. Put all the walnut tarator ingredients in a food processor and blend to a thick paste. Slowly blend in just enough cold water to make a smooth sauce. Season to taste with sea salt. Transfer to a bowl, then cover and allow to rest for a couple of hours.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the chicken in cold water and remove all visible fat.
  3. Place the chicken, onion, carrot and bay leaves in a large saucepan. Season with sea salt and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer the chicken for about 1 hour, or until tender and cooked through.
  4. While the chicken is poaching, make the paprika oil. Gently heat the paprika oil ingredients in a small saucepan to melt the butter and warm the oil through, then set aside to infuse.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool slightly in the poaching liquid, then lift the chicken into a large bowl. Remove and discard all the skin and bones. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Mix the walnut tarator through the shredded chicken, then place in a serving bowl. Drizzle with the warm paprika oil and serve at room temperature.

Note

  • The tarator can be made up to 12 hours ahead; it will thicken on standing, so thin it with a little water or stock before using it at room temperature.
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