Georgian recipes

In response to a hail of requests (well, two, from and ), I’m posting the two Georgian recipes I did for Saturday dinner.

The main dish specifies pheasant (or cornish hen, whatever that is, at a pinch) but I substituted guinea fowl and the results were satisfactory. I think the key is to have two birds of about 2.5 lb, 1.2 kg each, preferably with a flavour of their own. The sauce base is, er, unusual – I think it is the first recipe I have ever seen for a rich sauce using tea – but very easy.

Moshushuli Khokhobi

¼ cup hazelnuts (I used peanuts; ¼ cup is 60 ml, but I just judged it by eye.)
¼ cup of really strong tea (ie using 60 ml of water)
2 birds of about 2.5 lb/1.2 kg each
salt and pepper
1 tangerine
2 tablespoons/30 ml wine
2 tablespoons/30ml unsweetened grape juice

Tangerine segments
Toasted hazelnuts (again, I used peanuts)
red and white grapes

        Preheat oven to 350° F/180&deg C
        Toast the hazelnuts, then grind them.
        Make the tea.
        Rinse the birds, salt and pepper them inside (if possible) and out, rub them with butter, put them in a greased casserole just large enought to hold them (breastside up).
        Throw the segments of the tangerine on top or around.
        Strain the tea, add the wine, juice and ground-up nuts. That is the sauce (easy, like I said). Pour onto the birds, making sure some bits of nut stay on top.
        Cover and put in the oven for an hour. Then uncover and put back for another 10 minutes.
        Take the birds out before serving (sauce can thus be served separately).
        Eat, accompanied by tangerines, nuts and grapes.

That was not bad at all, if I say so myself. I did rice with it, and also this Georgian bean recipe, which was very herby and flavoursome in the best Georgian tradition, and uses that very scientific measure of herbs, a sprig (good excuse to lay in some fresh herbs though):

Mtsvane Lobios Chirvuli

2 sprigs basil
1 sprig tarragon
2 sprigs summer savory (which we couldn’t get; rocket is the nearest local equivalent, but I couldn’t find that either, so did without)
1 sprig dill
1 sprig parsley
½ pound/250g green beans
1 small onion
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (which I judge to be 150g) butter in lumps
1 egg

        Chop the herbs, trim and chop the beans.
        Put the beans in a big flat saucepan with enough water to half cover them. Chop the onion.
        Bring the water to the boil and add the herbs, onion and salt.
        Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the beans are soft and the water has been absorbed. Beat the egg.
        Add the butter and lightly saute the mixture until the butter has melted.
        Stir in the egg, cook until the egg has set. Turn into a bowl.

All from Darra Goldstein’s book. Will report back as I do more.

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