Contains: Alcohol (it cooks off), gluten, optional nightshade. Is: Potentially gluten-free if you change out the flour.
Taken from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street 2017, found in March-April page 25. I made a half-recipe, since as a single person I could not see eating this six times in a row! I made some minor modifications mostly based on what I had to hand, and because I’d also rather add most of the salt at the end – after I taste something.
They specifically say not to use the breast meat, as the dark will provide more flavor and body. I totally understand that! (Some recipes may well use the whole chicken.)
Cooked early February.
Prep Time: 20 minutes.
Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.
Rest Time: Not needed.
Leftovers: Re-heat in a pot, stirring gently, until it just began to simmer. You don’t want to over-heat the egg component.
Chikhirtma: Georgian Chicken Soup
(I put notes about ingredients and/or changes next to the ingredients. Or the instructions)
For the Broth and Chicken:
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro.
- 1/2 bunch fresh dill.
- 1/2 garlic head.
- 1.5 pounds bone in, skin on chicken legs. (For me this equaled one drumstick and two thighs. I also removed excess fat prior to weighing).
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used a bit less as I have noticed too many chefs oversalt food. I can always add more later!)
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns (Mine are in store-bought pepper grinders, so rather than breaking the grinder, I used between 1/4 and 1/3rd a teaspoon, fresh ground.)
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes, optional (I opted in, but had to use ground, so I used a heaping 1/8th teaspoon.)
- 1.5 inch cinnamon stick.
- 1 bay leaf. (I don’t have any. I can’t taste them so I don’t buy them. YMMV.)
For the Soup:
- 1/2 pound carrots, chopped (about 2.5 medium carrots) I used multicolored carrots.
- 1/4 red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/5 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I held off on this until tasting time, see above.)
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 3 egg yolks.
- About 1/8 cup lemon juice (a half to a whole lemon)
- Ground black pepper.
For the Broth:
Tie the stems of the cilantro and the dill into bundles, then trim off the leaves, reserving an 1/8th cup of each for garnish. (I didn’t see the point of the bundles, since the broth was going to be strained, so I didn’t waste my twine/string, or time, with that.)
Cut off and discard the top third of the (half a ) garlic head, leaving the rest intact. In a suitable pot, add the cilantro and dill stems, the garlic. Add the water, the chicken and the rest of the broth ingredients.
Bring to a boil, reduce to medium low, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle. Remove the garlic head and the chicken, and strain the rest of the broth into another container to remove solids. Discard those solids but retain the broth. For the chicken, discard the bones, cartilage and skin, shredding the flesh. Reserve this meat with the garlic.
For the Soup:
Take the garlic head and, using tongs, squeeze out all the garlic juices from the head into the broth. Stir.
Wipe out the now-empty cooking pot, and add the carrots, onions, butter and salt. Cook on medium high until the onions brown, about 12 minutes. Deglaze with the vermouth and cook until this evaporates. This will take a minute or two. Add the flour, stirring continually, for about a minute, then slowly add 1 cup of the broth, with continual stirring. When smooth, add the rest of the broth, and bring this to a simmer.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then slowly add a half cup of the hot broth from your cooking pot, and then follow up with the lemon juice. After mixing this, return the contents of the bowl to the cooking pot, without returning to a simmer, and then add the chicken and any of its juices into there. Let the chicken warm up to just below a simmering temperature.
Adjust seasonings by taste.
Serve in bowls and add the dill / cilantro garnishes as desired.
The lemon and egg part definitely give this dish a Greek feel, although as Kimball notes in his preamble, the seasonings owe a lot to Asia. Georgia is located north and east of Greece, so this makes sense.
I bought multicolored carrots for this dish. I’m not really crazy about carrots – but I figured having the many colors would at least make up for the use of them.
Kimball made no notes about whether the broth should be covered or not. I decided not to cover it.
I intend to repeat this recipe down the road, using home grown chicken meat. At which point I;m sure I’ll be simmering the chicken for longer.
Let’s hear it for Link Parties, where Social Distancing was always a thing…