Chahohbili – Georgian Chicken Stew

chahohbili

Georgia is a former Soviet Republic with a distinctive cuisine much liked by the Russians. A lot of Georgian recipes were “borrowed” and then adapted to the Russian tastes. Ethnic Georgians living in Russia sneer at these adaptations and there is a lot of bickering going on over how a “real” Georgian dish should be cooked. In any case, the Hmeli-Suneli spice mix is what gives this chicken stew its distinctive taste. I use fresh tomatoes in this recipe. Vancouver hot house tomatoes are pretty bland and tasteless and are less acidic than the canned tomatoes from Italy. You can use these instead of fresh tomatoes if desired.

Recipe

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) chicken drumsticks or portion-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 lbs (500 g) tomatoes (about  4-5 medium)
  • 1-2 hot peppers (optional)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (coriander)
  • 1  teaspoon khmeli-suneli herb mix
  • vegetable oil

1. Slice the onion into half-rings.

2. Remove the seeds and membranes from the bell pepper and julienne (cut into long thin strips).

3. Wearing gloves, remove the seeds and membranes from the hot pepper and dice the pepper.

4. Cut each tomato in half. Press the cut side to a coarse grater and grate until only the skin of tomato remains (as in the pictures below).

.5. Generously coat the frying pan with oil and bring to medium heat. Fry chicken in batches until golden, turning over once. Remove chicken to a paper towel – covered plate to drain the excess oil..

6. In the same frying pan, fry the onions until softened, about 3 minutes. Add khmeli-suneli and stir briefly.

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.7. Add bell peppers and hot peppers and stir briefly.


8. Transfer the chicken and the onion-pepper mixture to a cooking pot.

9. Add the grated tomatoes.

10. Add white wine.

10. If necessary, add enough hot water of chicken stock to just cover the chicken.

11. Add salt, to taste.

11. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

12. Meanwhile, chop the garlic into very small pieces. Chop parsley and cilantro.

13. At the end of 20 minutes, remove the pot from heat and add garlic, parsley and cilantro. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve on a bed of rice or mashed potatoes.

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