Circassian chicken salad

This salad is a rich paste made with chicken, walnuts, stock and breadcrumbs. It is delicious spread on bread, oatcakes and other savoury biscuits. I got this recipe from Cookistan, when we were on holiday in Istanbul. 

The Circassians were a tribal people who lived in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian sea, north east of modern Turkey. They were part of the Ottoman Empire, and the dish has made its way into modern Turkish cookery. 

INGREDIENTS:

 
  • 2 chicken breasts, poached in 1 litre of well-seasoned stock
  • 250g walnuts
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 200g panko breadcrumbs, or other dried breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 12 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • Chopped dill, optional
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp sweet paprika, to taste
  • 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to taste (quite a lot of salt and pepper)
  • 6 teaspoons paprika (sweet)
  • Garnish: 1 tsp paprika in olive oil and whole walnut halves

METHOD:

  • Cool the poached chicken, and strain and reserve the stock. 
  • Shred the cooked chicken breast very finely. 
  • Roughly crush the walnuts and finely crush the garlic.
  • Soften the breadcrumbs with stock to make a soft paste.
  • Add the chicken, olive oil, mayonnaise, yoghurt, cumin, paprika dill, and salt and pepper to make a paste, and stir in the walnuts and garlic. Check the seasoning; this needs quite a bit of salt to bring out the flavour. 
  • Garnish with 1 tsp paprika fried in 1 tbsp olive oil, walnut halves, and chopped dill. 

Chicken curry with mint

 

We had some bits of chicken in the freezer, all boned, and I made this from ‘Curry Easy’ which has to be one of my favourite recipe books.

Ingredients for marinade:

  • 500g boned skinned chicken pieces, cut into 2cm slices
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Put all the ingredients in a sealed plastic box overnight (or minimum 30 mins if you forgot) in the fridge. Give the box the occasional shake to keep things all mixed together.

Ingredients for cooking:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g chopped onion (about 1/2 an onion)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Method:

  • Use a wok, karhai or large frying pan. Heat the oil over medium/high heat, then add the chopped onions and stir-fry for a minute
  • Add the marinade and the chicken, and stir-fry for 3 minutes
  • Add the mint, stir through, then take off the heat and serve with rice.

Grilled chicken breasts with harissa, mint and yoghurt

We had some bits of boned chicken, mostly breasts in the freezer, and some home-made harissa sauce. We found this recipe in Nigel Slater’s Kitchen diaries. And that is what we had for tea, with boiled potatoes and a little salad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Boned chicken, chicken breasts, chicken wings
  • 2 tsps harissa paste
  • 100ml greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp organic olive oil
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Stir the harissa into the yoghurt and then beat in the olive oil with some salt and pepper to taste
  • Roll the chicken in the thick sauce, and then grill it until tender inside, with some slight browning on the outside
  • Done. I think this would work well on the barbeque in the summer, or with lamb chops. We are going to try it with goose breast as well.

Coq au Vin

An old classic. I have got very good at jointing chickens that have been passed on after meeting a sad end.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 chicken, jointed (or 1.5kg chicken pieces)
  • 1 onion
  • 225g mushrooms
  • 100g lardons, or bacon bits
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 300ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 150ml stock
  • thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp butter squished with 1 tbsp flour

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter in a large casserole dish, and fry the chicken pieces for five minutes, and then set aside
  • Fry the onions, bacon, mushrooms and garlic in the same pan for another five minutes
  • Return the chicken to the pan, and then pour the brandy over the lot, and set alight for a minute or so.
  • Pour the wine and stock into the pan, along with the thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of hours.
  • Mix the flour and butter together, and add to the pan, about 10 minutes before the end.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.