Circassian Chicken Salad

Circassian Chicken Salad is a classic mayo-free chicken salad with a creamy walnut sauce and paprika, garlic, green onions, and parsley.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts, divided
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
  • 2 slices of bread, crusts removed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Salt and black pepper
  • The juice of a lemon

Method

1 Poach the chicken breasts: Bring the chicken stock to a simmer and add the chicken breasts. Add some water if there is not enough liquid to cover the meat. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.

2 Heat paprika in olive or walnut oil: Meanwhile, heat the olive or walnut oil in a small pot over low heat and add the paprika. Stir well to combine. Heat until you can smell the aroma of the paprika, then turn off the heat.

3 Soak bread in broth: Tear the bread into chunks and put into a bowl. Ladle out about a cup or two of the chicken broth and pour it over the bread.

4 Make walnut paste: Put one cup of the walnuts into a food processor. Add the garlic, the cayenne, about a teaspoon of salt, 1 Tbsp of the parsley and the soaked bread. Pulse to make a thick, relatively chunky paste.

If it needs a bit more chicken broth to loosen up, add some a tablespoon at a time.

Stir the paprika-oil, then pour it into the food processor and buzz to combine. Add salt to taste.

5 Assemble the salad: Tear the chicken breasts into shreds. Put it in the bowl with the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, the green onions and 1 Tbsp of parsley.

Add the walnut-paprika paste from the food processor to the bowl and stir gently to combine everything thoroughly. Add black pepper and lemon juice to taste.