the best chicken salad

Imagine a chicken salad without mayonnaise. Healthy yes. But delicious? Unlikely. Right?


Thank you, thank you, thank you, to my mother-in-law for sharing some of her kitchen skills and for teaching me how to re-create one of my all time favorite recipes of hers. Turkish Cerkez Tavugu involves creating a "sauce" of ground walnuts and garlic, combining it with meticulously shredded chicken, and adding a bit of spice. The seemingly odd secret ingredient? A piece of day old bread.

We had this for dinner Sunday night with a bit of bread and a big salad of mixed greens, watermelon, feta and balsamic. Yesterday it made for an insanely awesome chicken salad sandwich. Now that I know how to make this dish, there's no doubt I will be making it again and again.

Here's what you'll need:
1 4-5 lb whole chicken
2 cups of whole walnuts
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups reserved stock {from poaching liquid}
2 pieces day old bread (crumbled)
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
Remove giblets from chicken and pat dry. Place in large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes, until cooked through. Do not boil. Once chicken is done cooking, remove chicken and set aside. Reserve 1 1/2-2 cups of poaching liquid and set aside. Once chicken is cool, shred meat from entire chicken into small pieces. Set aside.

Add walnuts and garlic to a food processor and pulse until walnuts and garlic are ground into very small pieces. Then, in a saucepan over medium high heat, add stock, crumbled bread and walnut/garlic mixture. Whisk to combine until you have a uniform mixture. Remove from heat and stir in chicken, adding a bit more stock if needed. Add in paprika and salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You may sprinkle with additional paprika or a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Serve with crackers or bread and enjoy!


  1. This looks fantastic! I am definitely going to have to try. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Omg. Be still my heart. I need to make this.

  3. this looks INCREDIBLE! Of course I need a food processor, this is a good excuse to get one!

  4. Interesting. I'm slightly obsessed with chicken salad, but I've never seen one like this.

  5. This looks delicious!! Too funny about the day old bread :) I love Zoe's Chicken Salad but this looks like it could definitely beat it!!

  6. YUM this looks delish. Pinning it on my board stat.

    Defining Tabitha

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  8. yummmmm....looks tasty :)
    Have a look into my blog if you find some time & give your feedback

  9. looks SO good! pinning now.. hopefully actually making this dish later! xoxo jillian:: cornflake dreams