Recipe for Cerkes Tavugu (Cold Shredded Chicken With Walnut Sauce)


3 1/2 lb chicken; cut into 8 serving
3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup walnuts, shelled
1/2 cup onion; finely chopped
3 slice white bread; (homemade type)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 black pepper; freshly ground
1 tablespoon parsley; finely chopped and
preferably flat leaf


In a 4 to 5 quart saucepan, combine the chicken, water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender but not falling apart. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and boil the stock rapidly, uncovered, over until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Combine the walnuts, onions and stock in the jar of an electric blender and blend at high speed for 15 seconds. Add the bread, 1/2 teaspoon of the paprika, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper, and blend at high speed until the mixture becomes a smooth puree. (To make the walnut puree by hand, pulverize the nuts with a nut grinder or mortar and pestle. Transfer them to a bowl, add the onions, and, with the back of a spoon, mash them together to a smooth paste. Tear and shred the bread with a fork, then mash it into the nuts. Beat in the hot stock, a few tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until the mixture is smooth and thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in a spoon.) When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin with a small knife or your fingers and cut or pull the meat away from the bones. Discard the bones, and cut the chicken meat into strips about 1/8 inch wide and 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Place the chicken in a bowl and add 1 1/2 cups of the walnut sauce, tossing the chicken about with a spoon to coat the pieces well. Mound the chicken on a platter, mask the top with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of paprika. Garnish with parsley if desired. NOTE: A more traditional garnish for cerkes tavugu is made from paprika and the oil of ground walnuts. For this, pulverize 1/4 cup of shelled walnuts with 1/2 teaspoon of paprika in a mortar and pestle. Place a spoonful of the mixture at a time in a garlic press, and squeeze the oil over the chicken.

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