A traditional Turkish mezze dish of spiced chicken - perfect for buffets, goes well with salad and couscous.


1 large free-range chicken
1 onion, quartered
1 celery stick, chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
8 black peppercorns
8 cloves, tops pinched
Large pinch chilli flakes
60ml walnut oil
2 tsp sweet paprika
150ml natural yogurt
Large handful chopped fresh tarragon
40g unsalted butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika, plus a little extra to sprinkle
½ tsp hot paprika
2 chunky slices sourdough bread, crusts removed
175g shelled walnuts
Lemon juice to taste


Put the chicken in a large pot with the onion, celery, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest, peppercorns, cloves and chilli flakes. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 45-50 minutes or until cooked. Remove from the pan, strain the stock into a large jug or bowl (discard the flavourings) and set aside to cool (this can be done in advance, and the cooked chicken kept in the fridge overnight).

Warm the walnut oil gently with the sweet paprika, and set aside to infuse.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and both paprikas, and fry for a minute or two more.

Dip the bread into the reserved chicken stock, then squeeze it out and set aside.

Grind the walnuts in a food processor, then add the onion mixture and pulse to combine. Add the soaked bread and season well with salt and ground black pepper. Gradually pour in enough poaching stock, with the motor running, to create a sauce with the thickness of mayonnaise. Add a good squeeze of lemon and check the seasoning.

Shred the meat from the chicken and toss with the walnut sauce, yogurt and almost all of the chopped tarragon. Serve drizzled with the paprika walnut oil, extra paprika and the remaining tarragon.