Cerkes Tavugu (Circassian Chicken)

Prep Time
Cook Time
1h 25m
Ready In

"Circassian chicken comes from the culinary legacy of the Circassian women who where part of the Sultan's harem during the days of the Ottoman Empire. Noted for their gastronomic skills as well as their beauty, the Circassians contributed this dish which bears their name and has become a classic of Turkish cuisine. From The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook."

Original recipe yields 6 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (373.4 g)
  • Calories 656.7
  • Total Fat - 34.7 g
  • Saturated Fat - 4.5 g
  • Cholesterol - 373.7 mg
  • Sodium - 283.9 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 15.7 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 5.2 g
  • Sugars - 3.8 g
  • Protein - 71.8 g
  • Calcium - 130.4 mg
  • Iron - 5.8 mg
  • Vitamin C - 7.9 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.3 mg

Step 1

Place the paprika and cayenne pepper in a small dry frying pan and heat over low heat for about 2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the walnut oil and set aside until ready to use.

Step 2

Put the chicken in a large saucepan with the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and coriander seeds. Add one liter of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool in the stock.

Step 3

Remove the chicken and return the stock to the heat. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until stock reduces by half. Strain, skim off fat, and set aside. Remove the chicken skin and shred the chicken into bite sized pieces. Season well and ladle some chicken broth over it to moisten. Set aside.

Step 4

Reserve a few of the walnuts for a garnish, and blend the rest in a food processor to form a rough paste Combine the bread with 1/2 cup of the stock, add to the food processor, and mix in short bursts for several seconds. Add the extra paprika, the garlic and some salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup warm chicken stock until the mixture is of a smooth pourable consistency, adding a little more stock if necessary.

Step 5

Mix half the sauce with the chicken and plate on a serving platter. Pour the rest over to cover then sprinkle with the spiced oil and the remaining walnuts. Serve at room temperature.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.