Circassian Chicken (Çerkez Tavuğu)

6 Servings

45 minutes

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Circassian chicken, çerkez tavuğu in Turkish, is a popular meze dish and an elevated form of chicken salad. Cooked shredded chicken is dressed with a rich, creamy, bread-thickened garlic and walnut sauce, then served at room temperature. A rust-red oil made by infusing olive oil with Aleppo pepper or paprika is an elegant flourish that also brings earthy aroma and chili heat. This version of Circassian chicken is our adaptation of a recipe from Emine Nese Daglar, a home cook who resides in Istanbul, and grandmother of chef Cagla Gurses. To stale the bread for making the sauce, simply leave the slices out for a few hours; they should feel dryish on the surface but not brittle. Serve the salad with warm pita bread. We also like sliced radishes and pickles on the side.




Don’t add too much broth when pureeing the walnut sauce. If the sauce is too thin, it will not cling to the chicken. Start with the smaller amount of broth and add only as much as needed so the consistency resembles that of pourable yogurt. If you find that after dressing the chicken mixture is too thick and dry, mix in additional broth a little at a time to thin it. Also, don’t discard the remaining broth. Save it for use in another recipe that calls for chicken broth.

45 minutes


  • 3

    pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or thighs

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, root end intact, peeled and quartered lengthwise


kathleen h.
July 8, 2022
circassian chicken
1/4 C of broth is not enough. I used about 3/4 broth. We think it is better if you layer the parts and keep them separate until you are ready to serve. That way its easy to have leftovers. It is, by the way, even better the second day
Michael C.
June 29, 2022
My standard complaints
Please include the amount of water in your ingredient list. It makes prep much easier. Don't assume a lack of ingredients. Maybe I have Marash biber. Maybe Urfa biber is what should be used in some recipes not Ancho peppers. Try real ingredients first and work arounds second. Your modified recipes may be better than the originals but give us a chance to compare in this age of online ingredients.