For a fall story on walnuts, we turned up this complexly flavored stew from "Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook," by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman. The intricate blending of spices is typical of Georgian cooking.
2 pounds chicken breasts with bone, well rinsed and patted dry
2 pounds chicken thighs, well rinsed and patted dry
2 quarts chicken stock or canned broth
3 1/2 cups walnut pieces
10 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large bunch cilantro, stems removed
1 small dried red
1/2 teaspoon coarse (kosher or sea) salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 large onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
3 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Dash ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
3 tablespoons white vinegar
Combine chicken breasts, thighs and stock in large soup pot. Bring to boil and skim off foam as it rises to top. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked, about 45 minutes. Strain out chicken, reserving 6 cups stock for sauce.
Let chicken stand until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard skin. Remove all meat from bones and shred meat into medium-size pieces. Set aside.
Finely grind walnuts, garlic, cilantro, chile and coarse salt in food processor, batch at time, if necessary. Set aside.
Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they just begin to color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring 1 minute more. Gradually stir in reserved chicken stock. Simmer 5 minutes without boiling.
Turn heat down to low and gradually add ground walnut mixture, stirring with wooden spoon. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes.
Whisk egg yolks in small bowl, then stir in about 1 ladle of simmering mixture. Whisk yolks into sauce. Add paprika, cayenne, fenugreek, ground coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, tarragon and salt to taste. Simmer about 10 minutes without boiling. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.
Add reserved chicken to sauce and stir to coat. Serve hot or at room temperature with steamed rice, garnished with walnut pieces and cilantro sprigs. Makes 8 to 10 servings.