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Oh how they love walnuts in the Caucasus and how they love their Alycha plums, which are turned into a lovely sour sauce. Prunes will never be the perfect match; they are too sweet, hence my addition of lemon. But this works as a delicious alternative to your regular roast chicken. Levengi means ‘inside the stomach’, and it is used to stuff both poultry and fish. Add some spices to the stuffing and it will be almost festive. A sprinkling of sumac gives an extra sour note, and walnuts add welcome texture.

Serves 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium chicken
1 tablespoon ground sumac
100g (3½ oz) pitted prunes, finely chopped
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
200g (7oz) walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 red onion, grated
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Armenian Roasted Vegetables to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Rub the olive oil all over the chicken. Place in a roasting tin and sprinkle it with the sumac.

2. Mix the prunes with lemon rind and juice, walnuts and onion, then stuff the mixture inside the chicken.

3. Roast for 1 hour or until the juices run clear when you slice through the thickest part of the leg. Serve with Armenian Roasted Vegetables.

These images were taken by Kris Kirkham and are from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, published by Hachette Australia. Hardback RRP $39.99, Ebook $19.99

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