Chakhokbili (Spiced chicken stew with herbs)
Georgian food is one of the lesser known culinary cultures of the East. I cannot think why as the dishes I have tried have been absolutely wonderful and pose no threat to those with less adventurous palates. Flavours ate familiar, simple and comforting; the kind of food that pleases everyone and doesn't involve any advanced level of skill or a ridiculously long list of ingredients. Flavours and dishes feel very similar to some of Persian and Ottoman cuisines and no doubt we all borrowed flavours and dishes from each other at one stage or another in history. The most important thing is that their food tastes good and its easy to make at home. Kharcho is a wonderful chicken stew, slow cooked until the chicken falls apart and the depth of flavour is really wonderful. Perfect comfort food for the wintery weather we are having. Heck, perfect comfort food, any time of year really.
8 large chicken thighs, skins removed
2 large white onions, cut into ½ centimeter thick half moons
4 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 heaped teaspoons of paprika
6 large ripe tomatoes
2 long red chillies (spicy ones)
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
Small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Small bunch of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat a large pan over a medium heat, drizzle enough olive oil to coat the base of the pan well and add the chicken thighs and fry them until golden brown. Add the onions, bay leaves, garlic, paprika, tomatoes and vinegar and mix well. Season generously with salt and pepper and split the chillies lengthways (keeping stalk in tact) and add to the pan. Using boiling water from a kettle, add just enough hot water into the pan to cover the chicken and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and checking seasoning, then add in the fresh herbs and stir well and serve. Great with rice or bread.