Do you want to cook a dish that will create a special atmosphere at the table? Or maybe you’re planning a gastronomic evening in Oriental style? Then any dish of Georgian cuisine will do half the work for you. After all, the Georgians themselves are very hospitable and friendly. Their dishes, richly flavored with herbs, with alternating flavors of sour to sweet, salty and spicy, induce to have a sit-down, long conversations and loud pleasant speeches.
Chakhokhbili is a traditional dish which was originally cooked from pheasant meat. In Georgian the bird is called “hakobi”. But finding pheasant meat has become quite difficult, so in popular recipe pheasant is being replaced by chicken. Of course, it is desirable that the chicken is farm produced. Popularity of chakhokhbili is explained by the democratic price and availability of ingredients.
Chakhokhbili appeared in those days when there were no tomatoes in Georgia. To add acidity to the dish dried cornelian cherry, vinegar or tklapi which is a sun-dried mashed plum tkemali, a kind of sour paste was added. The main spice in chakhokhbili, the secret ingredient is utskho suneli or ground seeds of blue fenugreek. But if you can’t find Utskho suneli, you can use Khmeli suneli – the mixture of dry herbs that are perfect for this dish.
For the preparation of 6-8 servings you will need:
1 chicken (2 kg – 4.4 lbs)
4-6 ripe or marinated tomatoes
dill, parsley, basil
5-6 garlic clove
1 hot pepper
Khmeli suneli or a pinch of Utskho suneli
Cut chicken in portions and fry in a pan with a thick bottom until golden brown. Then close the lid and simmer at low temperature until half cooked.
Chop the onion and add to the chicken, stir.
If you use fresh tomatoes, then first you need to blanch, peel, and then finely chop or grate them. If you use canned tomatoes, just send the contents of the jar into the pan. Stir and simmer with chicken and onion.
Herbs should be finely chopped. Cut the stems separately, then grind them together with garlic, pepper and salt into a paste.
Add this fragrant mixture to the chicken, sprinkle with herbs, add spices, salt and pepper. The chicken needs to be stewed for a long time until the meat is easily separated from the bone.