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Chakhokhbili recipe

Chakhokhbili is a traditional Georgian dish. Its name comes from the Georgian word "khokhobi" which means "pheasant," indicating its true origins. *ajika is a Georgian condiment made from ground sweet and hot red peppers, coriander, garlic, salt and, sometimes, walnuts. It is as common in Georgia and the South Caucasus as ketchup is in North America. If you do not have ajika, substitute a good handful of crushed, dried red chiles or about a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper. Ajika is easy to make and keeps well in the refrigerator. If there is an interest, I can supply a favourite recipe.

~ four whole chicken legs (cut at the joint to separate upper high from leg), trimmed but not skinned
~ about 8 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled and diced
~ one large Spanish onion, peeled and diced
~ sunflower oil
~ bay leaves
~ a generous cupful of chopped fresh herbs (combination MUST include fresh coriander, dill, tarragon, basil and parsley or the flavour will not be authentic)
~ a good spoonful of ajika (see note below).
measures conversion [+]

In a large skillet with a cover, heat about 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil. When the oil is not, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides. When the chicken is browned, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chopped onion. Continue cooking until the onions are soft but not brown. Add more oil if the pan seems dry. When the onions are soft, pour in the tomatoes and their juice, adding about 4 bay leaves to the pan, stir well, cover and let simmer slowly for an hour. My suggestion: do not substitute canned tomatoes for fresh. The flavour will not be the same. Peeling tomatoes is easy if you blanch them in boiling water for about a minute. The skins will then slip off easily without much effort. Another hint is to chop the peeled tomatoes on a plate in order to save the juices. Check the chicken at the one hour mark. It should be very tender and almost falling from the bones. At this point, the chakhokhbili is seasoned with salt and black pepper to taste, a good spoonful of ajika* and the cupful of chopped fresh herbs. Stir to combine the ingredients. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for about 15 minutes for flavours to blend.

Cuisine: Georgian
Source: J P
Recipe category: Meat-Dishes > Poultry

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