Çerkez Tavugu(Turkish Circassian chicken with walnut sauce)

Cerkez tavugu is best served warm or at room temperature, and it tastes even better the next day

6 to 8 servings


  • Chicken breast, skinless, boneless — 3 pounds
  • Water — 4 cups
  • Salt — 2 teaspoons
  • Olive oil — 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, chopped — 1
  • Garlic, minced — 2 cloves
  • Paprika — 3 tablespoons
  • Cayenne pepper — 1/2 teaspoon
  • Walnuts — 3 cups
  • White bread, crust removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry — 2 to 3 slices
  • Lemon juice — 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper — to taste
  • Olive oil — 3 tablespoons
  • Paprika — 2 tablespoons
  • Parsley, chopped — 2 tablespoons


  1. Add the chicken, water and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high flame. Reduce heat to low and simmer 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove chicken, reserving the broth, and set aside to cool. When the chicken is cool, shred it finely with your fingers.
  2. Heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium flame. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika and cayenne and sauté for another 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Place the onion mixture, walnuts, bread, lemon juice, 2 cups of the poaching liquid, salt and pepper into a blender or food processor. Process until fairly smooth but with a little texture remaining. Remove to a large bowl.
  4. Add the shredded chicken to the walnut sauce. Adjust seasoning and add more poaching liquid if the sauce is too dry. Place in a serving dish and shape decoratively with the tines of a fork.
  5. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the paprika over medium flame until the oil colors a deep red, 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle the oil over the chicken, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.
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