Recipes from Egypt: Circassian-Style Chicken (Sherkasia)

Recipes from Egypt

Circassian-Style Chicken (Sherkasia)

Country: Egypt
Course: Main
Makes: 16 servings


  • 6 lbs chicken leg quarters
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, peeled and chopped with salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Near East or Aleppo pepper, or more to taste
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • 2 1/4 cups shelled walnuts
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and brown the chicken on both sides. Add 2 tsp of the garlic with the salt, pepper and saffron.
  2. Pour the water over the chicken and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is tender.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, toast the flour in a dry pan over low heat until it turns a light brown color. Keep stirring so it doesn't burn. Add the pepper and allspice and stir for another 30 seconds, then remove from heat and set aside.
  4. When the chicken has finished cooking, take it out of the pot (make sure to reserve the broth) and then remove the skin and bones. Cut into smaller pieces.
  5. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the chicken and transfer it to a large bowl. Now strain the broth and skim the oil off the top (you should have about 3 1/2 cups of broth). Mix the rest of the garlic with 1 cup of broth and pour it over the chicken.
  6. Put the walnuts and seasoned, toasted flour into a food processer and pulse until you get very fine crumbs. Add another cup of the chicken broth and keep processing until you the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Then add the rest of the broth, mixing to make a sauce with a creamy consistency.
  7. Transfer the sauce to the skillet where you cooked your chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Pour the broth off the chicken pieces and then transfer them to a 9x13 casserole dish. Add a cup of the walnut sauce and the lemon juice and toss to combine. Refrigerate for two days.
  9. Add a little bit of water to the walnut sauce to thin it out somewhat, then add salt to taste. Pour over the chicken.
  10. Make the red-tinted oil by heating the walnut oil in a small pan with the Near East pepper. You want the mixture to sizzle just a little bit, then remove it from the heat.
  11. Heat the chicken in a 350 degree oven until warm, but not hot. Drizzle the oil over the finished dish and serve.