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Russian Chicken With Walnut Sauce Recipe

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A finished chicken breast with sauce spread over it along with rice and spinach.

A finished chicken breast with sauce spread over it along with rice and spinach.

It is not often that I barbecue. Generally, I prefer to cook over the stove top and sometimes in the oven. But for this delightful Russian recipe, I make an exception. This makes delicious chicken with a lovely lemon flavor and a garlic sauce—somewhat like pesto—that is added on to it with an excellent combination of spice and savoriness. It takes a long time to prepare, or more precisely to marinate it, and some time to prepare the walnut sauce that accompanies it, but once done, it is well worth it. Pair it with a carbohydrate. I tend to use rice, but a host of different things can work. Sometime I use vegetables, even something as simple as some spinach cooked in olive olive. It makes a lovely, tasty, filling, and elegant dinner.

This recipe comes from a Russian cookbook: Please to the Table, The Russian Cookbook, by Anya von Bremzen. I quite recommend it. It has both a great number of Russian recipes, including main dishes, side dishes, appetizers, breads, and side dishes, and a host of foods from various other former Soviet nations. My impression of Russian cooking had always been the stereotypical borsht—which I’ve never made because my family doesn’t like beets—but this one is quite light and pleasant.

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Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

6 hours

30 min

6 hours 30 min

2 - 4 pounds chicken + voluminous amounts of sauce


  • 3/4 cup lemon juice, (3-4 lemons)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 pounds chicken, breasts
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 sprigs tarragon
  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts, For the sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock, For the sauce
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, For the sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, For the sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek, For the sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, For the sauce
  • Salt, to taste, For the sauce and with the chicken
  • pepper


  1. First, marinate the chicken. Rub in salt and pepper into the chicken. Combine 3/4 cup of the lemon juice, olive oil, 3 cloves garlic, 8 sprigs tarragon, and some salt and pepper additional into a casserole dish or some other shallow vessel.
  2. Add in chicken. Turn to coat with mixture. Turn occasionally afterwards. Let marinate at least 6 hours prior, resting in the refrigerator. I generally start marinating the night before, but then I go to sleep very late and we eat dinner early.
  3. While the chicken is marinating, make the garlic sauce at some point. Cut up walnuts into smaller pieces, and add 5 cloves minced garlic, minced cilantro, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 cup chicken stock, coriander, fenugreek, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste. Blend in a blender or food processor to make a paste. Let age several hours, add on cilantro leaves as garnish if desired.
  4. Prepare the coals for barbecuing the chicken, waiting until coals are coated with white ash. Or if one desires, use a broiler. Remove chicken pieces from marinade, and without drying, place on grill or in broiler 3-4 inches from heat.
  5. Cook 20-30 minutes, according to desired level of cooking, turning several times. Bast with the marinade if possible. It will be ready when the juices run clear when pricked.
  6. Serve the chicken with the sauce in a sauceboat or pour it over if desired.

© 2017 Ryan Thomas

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