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Author Notes: This is my own version of a traditional dish from Republic of Georgia. One of the staples in Georgian cuisine is walnuts, which are added to sauces, soups, stews and desserts. This particular dish is praised for its rich walnut based sauce, which can be used to coat poultry, fish, and for dipping the bread. Excellent both warm and cold. —Eat Already!
- 3 to 3-1/2 pounds chicken or turkey, cut into portions, need some fat, don't use breast meat alone
- few sprigs of parsley, bay leaf, salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 large onions, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4-6 cups chicken stock (reserved from cooking chicken)
- 3-1/2 cups raw walnuts
- 10 cloves of garlic
- 1 large bunch of fresh cilantro, stems removed
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 small dry chili pepper
- salt to taste
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- There are two ways of cooking chicken. You can make stock, or you can make stock, and then roast the chicken for added flavor. In my opinion, roasting is only applicable and does add flavor, if you are using chicken pieces with bones and skin. If you are using skinless boneless thighs and breast meat, roasting doesn’t make a ton of difference, so proceed accordingly.
- Put chicken in a pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, skim the foam that rose to the surface, reduce heat, add 1/2 tbsp salt, a few sprigs of parsley, 1 bay leaf. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hr.
- If using chicken with bones and skin, remove chicken from stock, place in a roasting pan, and put in 350 degree oven to roast for about 15 minutes or so. You can skip this step if using boneless skinless meat. Set aside. Chop onions. Melt butter in a skillet over low-medium heat. Saute onions until very solf, but still lightly yellow. Don’t brown. Stir frequently to prevent browning and burning. While onions are cooking, combine walnuts, garlic, cilantro and all spices and salt in a blender. Add about 1 cup of stock from cooking chicken and process into a paste. If too coarse to process, add a bit more stock as needed. Add flour to the cooked onions, and cook for a few minutes more, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the skillet. When all flour becomes translucent and coats the onions well, add 2-3 cups of stock. Scrape the bottom of the skillet with wooden spoon, and stir well, until smooth. Heat through and allow to simmer for about 10 more minutes, until onions are almost dissolved.
- Add walnut paste to the skillet, stir very well, adding more stock if needed, until the sauce is about buttermilk consistency and smooth, simmer for 2-3 minutes or so after bringing to a boil.
- Return the sauce to the blender and process yet again to get silky texture. This step is optional, if you like creamier texture.
- Pour the sauce back into the skillet (no heat). Mix egg yolks with a little bit of the sauce, and slowly pour back into skillet. Stir well. Add vinegar, stir and let set for a few minutes.
- Taste the sauce and adjust salt if necessary.
- Pour the sauce into a clay or earthenware dish. Break chicken pieces into bite size chunks, or cut with the knife. Immerse the chicken into the sauce and carefully stir to coat. Let chicken sit in the sauce for at least 1 hour to absorb the flavor.
- Garnish with a few walnut halves and chopped cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature, with flat bread or over rice.