Tuesday, August 16, 2011

TBIR: Greece and Turkey

The least time-consuming recipe I could find in the Greece and Turkey section was Circassian Chicken, aka Chicken in Walnut Sauce (pg 360). Like so many of these recipes, it was too fussy to justify the mediocre result.

For example, first they have you brown one side of the chicken breasts, then you flip it over, fill the pan with broth, and poach it until it's done cooking. They claim this produces "moist, well-seasoned chicken breasts," in addition to building up "flavorful brown bits" on the pan. I wound up with a poached chicken breast, just like any other chicken breast I've ever poached, and didn't have any fond build up on the pan. Not a big deal, really, but just an example of the ways that these recipes provide extra steps that aren't worth it to me.
The sauce for this is toasted walnuts, broth-soaked sandwich bread, onion, garlic, cayenne, and lots of paprika (4 teaspoons), pureed in the food processor. I ran out of regular paprika midway through, so supplemented with smoked paprika. Shred the chicken and mix it with the sauce. I threw grape tomatoes in, because, once again, there were no vegetables.

This tasted like gritty smoked paprika. Not bad, but not good. I barely ate half of what I took. Sigh.

Conclusion: Just okay. I wouldn't make it again.


  1. Hmm, disappointing since Greek food is delicious.

  2. that doesn't look anything like chicken circassian- which should have a light color and whipped texture and a very delicious Turkish flavor.

  3. BTW this would have been a really good recipe to drizzle with walnut oil infused with paprika.

  4. here is the recipe I use for this dish- from Classical Turkish Cooking by Ayla Algar. I am curious if the recipe you cooked from is similar. Alot of why this is so delicious is b/c of Turkish cooking techniques- the garlic has to be crushed and made into a paste w/some broth, the chicken is undercooked ever so slightly, so as not to be rubbery and flavorless, the sauce must be processed very smooth and creamy, not grainy, and the bread is either good quality french bread or pita,the final touch is the paprika infused walnut oil that adds the flavoring...