Circassian Chicken

Engin Akin's version of this classic dish is a chicken salad with a creamy walnut sauce. She garnishes the salad with a drizzle of fragrant walnut oil.Plus: More Chicken Recipes and Tips

5 cups


  • One 3-pound chicken

  • 2 1/2 quarts plus 1 cup water

  • 1 small onion, halved

  • 1 carrot, halved

  • 2 whole cloves

  • Salt

  • 4 thin slices white sandwich bread (3 ounces), crusts removed

  • 3 cups walnuts (3/4 pound), chopped

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

  • 2 tablespoons French walnut oil


  1. In a large pot, cover the chicken with 2 1/2 quarts of the water. Add the onion, carrot, cloves and a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, skim the broth and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  2. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let cool slightly. Skim the fat from the broth and measure 1 cup; reserve the remaining broth for another use. Remove the meat from the chicken and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken meat into bite-size pieces and transfer to a medium bowl.

  3. In a shallow bowl, soak the bread in the remaining 1 cup of water until softened, then squeeze dry. In a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups of the walnuts with the reserved 1 cup of broth, the bread, coriander, garlic, black pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper; process to a coarse puree and add to the chicken. Finely grind the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts in the food processor and stir into the chicken. Season the salad with salt and transfer to a serving bowl.

  4. In a small saucepan, warm the walnut oil over low heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute. Drizzle the hot oil over the chicken salad and serve at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The chicken salad can be refrigerated overnight. Drizzle on the hot oil just before serving.

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