Lilly Higgins: A delicious chicken dish from the country I most want to visit

Coriander brings a bright citrus flavour to this chicken stew. Add garlic just before serving

Georgian chicken stew

Georgian chicken stew

 

This chicken stew comes from the country of Georgia. Chahohbili is a traditional Georgian poultry dish that usually contains wild game birds. Its name is derived from khokhobi which means pheasant, although it is now most commonly made with chicken. Turkey works really well here too.

Initially the recipe doesn’t read as being anything too special in its ingredients list. However the coriander brings a bright citrus flavour and the addition of garlic just before serving is really uplifting. The flavour is fresh and delicious, and it is amazing over rice or mopped up with crusty bread. 

In summer, this dish is made with fresh tomatoes, but tinned tomatoes can be used too. I’ve added some chilli flakes to this for some spice. Traditionally, a mixture of fenugreek, saffron and hot pepper are used. It’s a Georgian spice mix called khmeli-suneli. I’ve used coriander, but fresh mint, dill, parsley, basil and marjoram can be added, especially during summer months. Often a mixture of herbs is used, which I love, loads of bright green flavours in every mouthful.

Georgia is situated in the Caucasus region, at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It has long been on my wish list to travel there as it’s the home of natural wine. The beauty of Georgian wines is that they’re made to be drunk with food. Eating and drinking are important parts of Georgian cuisine.

Georgia is famous for the supra, which literally means tablecloth, and it refers to a feast with family and friends all around the table. It involves sharing food and stories as various plates of fresh herbs, breads and so on are passed around. Each supra is led by a toastmaster, or tamada, who introduces each toast during the feast. The toasts are usually tailored to the occasion but include topics such as family, God, country, friends and so on. There is a real sense of camaraderie around the table and a connection after all of the toasts, food, conversation and wine. I hope to host my own supra some time this year and this delicious stew will take centre stage. 

Recipe: Georgian chicken stew

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