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While living in the Republic of Georgia, I was introduced to a new way of seasoning meats and vegetables–with walnuts. Eggplant, fish, chicken, pork, and beef are all dressed with absolutely delicious walnut sauce, usually accented with cinnamon and cloves. It’s a completely different experience!!

Well, so I had some chicken I needed to get rid of, and some white potatoes that I wanted to cook up. And so I started grabbing at random bits and ingredients around the house, including walnuts, and made possibly the most delicious meal I’ve ever made, totally unexpectedly. If you are trying to cut carbs and are therefore turned off to the potatoes–read this article from Prevention magazine about how good white potatoes are for you (along with so many other veggies like corn and carrots that the Atkins diet had us running from).

White potatoes, the Russet's more delicate cousins. Delicious and nutritious!

I highly highly encourage all of you to try this–it takes about an hour and a half to prepare and cook from scratch, but it’s totally worth it! I took the idea of Georgian walnut sauce, took out the cinnamon and cloves, and added sour cream. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out–but I’m happy to report it was a complete success!!!

Skill Level: DIFFICULT (not technically; just balancing the different parts if you haven’t done anything ahead of time)
Preparation time: About 1 hour.
Cooking time: About 30 minutes.
Servings: 3-4.

Note: most of these measurements were eyeballed, so don’t worry about getting it exactly the same!

1 large chicken breast, sliced into little bits (Chik’n Strips would make a great veggie alternative in this recipe)
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp salt
About 3 tsp soy sauce
About 1/2 cup sweet white wine (I used Barefoot Moscato)
Just a little splash of olive oil

2 white potatoes, skin-on, cubed (sliced down the middle and then sliced through)

Cream Sauce: Part One
1/2 tsp mustard (I used a jarred Dijon that had full mustard seed in it)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 medium onion
handful of chopped walnuts

Cream Sauce: Part Two
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
About 8 oz sour cream (I used roughly half a 16 oz container)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
dash of parsley
dash of ground white pepper

3 sprigs of green onions, thinly sliced at a diagonal

About 2 tsp or so freshly grated parmesan

Some milk to thin out the sauce if necessary
2-3 tbsp sweet white wine (I used Barefoot Moscato)

Set a small pot of water to boil.

While that is heating up, chop up the chicken and make the marinade, whisking the ingredients together until they form a smooth sauce in a small bowl. Place the chicken in the bowl, put some plastic wrap over it and place in the fridge to hang out and absorb until you’re ready for it.

Chicken in marinade

Wash and cube the white potatoes. The water should be boiling by now. Go ahead and add some salt, maybe about 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. It sounds like a lot but it will be diluted by the water. Lower the heat a little bit and let the potatoes lightly boil for about 15 minutes, or until you can easily stick a fork through them.

Now you can turn to the sauce. Slice up half an onion and place in a food processor. Add the walnuts, the garlic and the mustard. Grind until you have an almost paste-like consistency. This will let the onion flavor permeate the sauce without messing up the texture.

Check on your potatoes, and remove from heat if necessary. I found that mine still needed some time. So I turned my attention to the stovetop.

Now it’s time to cook the chicken. In a large saucepan, add the chicken, making sure to use only a minimal amount of the marinade and throw out the rest, enough so that the pan is thinly coated and can accommodate the potatoes, but not more than that. No extra oil is necessary because of the oil in the marinade. Let the chicken cook on low-medium heat, making sure to keep an eye on it and turn the pieces over when necessary.

In another medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir until it forms little “flour nuggets” for lack of a better description. Add the cream and continue to stir. When smooth, stir in the sour cream, salt, pepper, parsley, white pepper, and parmesan. If it’s really thick, add a splash or two of milk to thin it out just a little bit. It can stay a little bit thick though, because you’re about to add the wine. Now add the wine, until it reaches a nice, “saucy” consistency. Lower the heat as much as possible, just enough to keep it warm. If you can’t keep stirring it, go ahead and turn the heat off. You’ll just need to warm it up a little bit again in a few minutes.

Check on the chicken. It should be more or less halfway done cooking by now. You will have already removed the potatoes by now, or else they should be ready, so drain and add them. Allow each side to brown a bit. Add the green onions.

This really could be its own meal unto itself, without the sauce!

When they are lightly browned, heat up the sauce if necessary and add it to the chicken and potatoes. Stir it up, lower the heat, cover and let cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

One of the most yummy things I've ever made. Ever.

This makes a fantastic main dish. But if you would prefer to omit the potatoes, the sauce and chicken would be great on pasta or even rice, as well. But, the sour cream flavor really goes well with the potatoes–so I’d say give it a try!

2 Responses to “Chicken and Potatoes with Walnut Sauce”

  1. […] sauce) and applying the ideas to your own cooking methods and readily available ingredients (say, chicken and potatoes with a cream-based walnut sauce). You're off limits for a while, chicken and potato […]

  2. […] Unlike Georgian recipes, in which walnuts are chopped up and used for sauces, Armenians preserve their walnuts for a sweet treat. These little gems are picked when they are young and still green in the plains below Mount Ararat (aka Masis to Armenians, and yes–it’s the same Mount Ararat on which Noah is said to have landed the Ark). They are preserved whole (as the shell is still soft) in a sweet, thick syrup. These have finally become readily available in the US, and not just at local import stores. You can buy a jar for $10 at Harvest Song’s website. Click here for more info. From Harvest Song's website. Yes, I really was too lazy to go to my fridge and take a picture of my own jar and upload it here. Sorry. […]

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