- One 4-pound chicken, quartered
- 1 onion, halved
- 4 allspice berries
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 pita bread, torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
- 2 cups walnuts (6 ounces)
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- Turkish red pepper, such as Aleppo or Urfa (optional)
How to make this recipe
Put the chicken in a large soup pot. Add the onion, allspice, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and coriander seeds. Add enough water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and when it is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and pull the meat off the bones in shreds.
Strain the fragrant chicken broth and transfer 3 cups to a small saucepan. Boil until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt.
In a small bowl, mash the pita in the milk until it is completely soaked. Transfer the pita to a food processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process to a paste. With the machine on, add about 1 cup of the reduced broth in a thin stream until a thick sauce forms; add more of the broth if necessary. Season the walnut sauce with salt and pepper and scrape half of it into a bowl. Fold the shredded chicken and the cilantro into the walnut sauce. Mound the chicken on a plate, top with a pinch of Turkish red pepper and serve. Pass the extra walnut sauce at the table.
The chicken salad can be refrigerated overnight.
Pita or other flat bread.
A simple, medium-bodied Italian red will bridge the spices here.