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