Circassian Chicken

I'm into Middle eastern Cuisine. The flavors, the ingredients all fascinate me. In some cases it's as far from Caribbean cooking as one can find. So I'm always on the lookout for something unique within a Middle eastern venue. And that explains the recipe given today. It's called "Circassian Chicken." A little history here. The Circasssians are an ethnic group that hails from the Northwest Caucasus. They were incorporated into the Czarist Russian Empire during the 19th century. But most Circassians are Sunni Muslims, and their cooking, I'm told, is very popular throughout the Middle East. They have a very old tradition in which nuts, ground fine, are used to enrich and thicken a sauce that is very prevalent in their cooking, as you will note with this dish.

Ground nuts in cooking? you say. Haven't done that lately. Well, just try the dish. You'll be surprised how good it is. Impress your crowd tonight. Tell 'em they'll be dining on a dish worthy of a Sultan or Caliph.


1 large roasting chicken, about 4 pounds, cut into serving pieces
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup shelled nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, or a mixture)
1 cup fine bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons paprika
Cooked rice (enough for 4 servings)

1. Wash chicken pieces under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Place in a large pot or pan, cover with water, add the onions, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about an hour or until the chicken is  tender.
3. Drain the chicken, but reserve the stock, keeping the chicken warm.
4. Grind the nuts in a food processor or blender. Place 2 cups reserved chicken stock into a clean pan. Stir in the nuts and bread crumbs. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the mixture has thickened. Add more stock if it becomes too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. In a cup or saucer,  mix the paprika with the oil until it becomes bright red. Add this to the nut/bread mixture and stir to combine.
6. Arrange the rice on a serving platter, top with the chicken and pour the nut sauce over both the chicken and rice.
    Yield: 4 or more servings.