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Circassian Chicken - An Amazing Turkish Recipe

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This Turkish chicken recipe is best served warm and it makes a delightful and very unusual meal. It makes enough to serve six people but do not halve the recipe because this also tastes great the following day. In fact, it tastes nicer the next day, as the flavors blend overnight. You can serve this at a buffet, as part of the salad or even as an appetizer to spread on crackers or bread.

How This Recipe Originated
This healthy and tasty Turkish recipe has never really become well known in the United States although it is popular in North Africa and Europe as well as its birthplace, Turkey.
The dish was introduced to Turkey by Georgian slaves and Jews who moved to Turkey from Spain altered the dish to make it kosher. Since cooking on the Sabbath is not allowed, this dish could be made the previous day and kept warm in the fireplace.
The recipe used to take a long time to prepare but using the food processor or blender to puree the mixture and grind the nuts saves a lot of time. You can make this dish in an hour and you will see from the ingredients list that it is quite healthy. The cayenne, garlic, paprika and lemon juice give it plenty of aromatic flavor.
What You Need:
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 5 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 2 slices white bread, soaked in water then squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
How To Make It:
Put the salt, water, and chicken in a pot and bring it to a boil over a moderately high heat. Turn the heat down to low and simmer it for about half an hour or until the chicken is cooked through. Let the chicken cool a bit, and then shred it with your fingers.
Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over a moderate heat, then saute the onion for three minutes or until it is translucent. Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, and two tablespoons of the paprika and cook for two minutes.
Put the bread, lemon juice, walnuts, onion mixture, salt, pepper and two cups of the poaching liquid into a food processor or blender and process until it is quite smooth but still with some lumps. Transfer it to a bowl.
Add the chicken to the walnut sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add some more of the poaching liquid if the sauce is too dry. Put the mixture on a serving platter and use a fork to make decorative shapes on it.
Heat the rest of the paprika and oil for a couple of minutes, then drizzle the liquid over the chicken and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. Serve it warm or at room temperature with pita bread and shredded lettuce.
Chicken is an economical and versatile meat and, if you want to serve grilled or roast chicken, you might want to find a delicious chicken gravy recipe. Some chicken recipes are cooked in their own sauce or broth but others are best served with a homemade gravy recipe.


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