Yia Yia potted chicken

Mamma Mia, here we go again!The fun filled film of the summer made me crave fun filled food.I left the cinema feeling I had just had a glorious experience.The spread on that Greek terrace left me salivating for bowls of Mediterranean summer salads, grains and a wonderfully resplendent cooked octopus sitting atop the buffet.Oh for the scorching heat of a Greek summer,or maybe not when we finally got one. My thoughts turned to a Mediterranean diet and in particular Greek food. I returned home and pulled from the bookshelf the wonderful "Real Greek Food".Theodore Kyriakou, the driving force behind this book changed my perceptions of what Greek food is all about.
Never losing sight of the true essence of "Real Greek food" I found a dish that I felt sits equally at home in The Portuguese Kitchen too. It acknowledges the Dieta Mediterrânica and traditional ingredients that are now recognised all around the world, walnuts,garlic cumin, coriander, cayenne , Flor de sal and last but lost least, that farmyard staple, chicken.Lo and behold this is fairly cholesterol friendly,no dairy, high in lean white meat and high in nut content.
Like their counterparts the Portuguese avõs,Greek grandmothers are hardcore about holding the secrets of traditional recipes, and there is much harrumphing and sucking of teeth if you deviate by a jot from "the way it has always been done". Yia Yia,here we go again.I dont want to be troubled  by a Greek yia-yia (granny) in my life, therefore I dare not  deviate, but when I tasted the finished dish I have to say, next time deviation it will be.The recipe below is not the original one I made, it is the revised version which was far and away an improvement.
Potted chicken with walnuts
1 chicken( about 1.5kg)
200g fresh white bread (crusts removed)
300g walnuts,finely ground and toasted in a dry pan with cumin (see below)
100ml chicken stock
1/3 cup shallots,finely chopped
1/4 cup celery
4 cloves garlic,peeled and crushed 
1 tbsp toasted cumin seeds
2 heaped tablespoons finely chopped coriander
2 bay leafs without stem and ground up finely
tsp crushed fresh thyme
1 small red chilli,finely chopped
heaped tsp cayenne pepper
flor de sal and freshly ground pepper
Put the chicken in a large deep saucepan and cover with water,Bring to the boil and then simmer with the lid on until cooked,about 25-30 minutes.
( Do not continue to boil or the chicken will become tough.)
Remove the chicken from the pan and when cool enough to work with, skin it and remove all the bones.Shred the meat with a fork.
Meanwhile heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the shallots,celery thyme,chilli and garlic with the cayenne pepper.Cook until soft.
soak the bread in water,then squeeze it and put it in a blender or food processor together with the walnuts,cumin,chicken stock,coriander  and fried vegetable mix.Process until mixed.In a bowl mix the shredded chicken with the processed bread mixture until well amalgamated.Season well and then pack it into a terrine or a number of small individual ramekins.Press down firmly with your fingertips.Cover and refrigerate.Serve at room temperature.


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