The name of this Georgian dish, chakhokbili, derives from the word khokhobi, which means “pheasant” in Georgian. But although this dish was evidently made with pheasant at one time, today either chicken or lamb is used. Chakhokbili is a refreshing, slightly tangy fricassee, with tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, and lots of fresh herbs. Double the recipe and serve at a large dinner party – it’s healthy, simple, and inexpensive. Serve with a steamed rice pilaf or bulgur pilaf.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 chicken (4 1/2 pounds), cut into 12 to 16 pieces, well rinsed and patted dry
6 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
3 large onions, coarsely chopped
10 fresh, ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus additional for garnish
5 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
8 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven. Add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and brown on all sides over medium heat.
2. Stir the garlic and onions into the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover tightly, and cook without stirring for 15 minutes. The chicken will release quite a lot of juice
3. Add the tomatoes, wine, l/4 cup lemon juice, half the herbs, all the peppercorns, the bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender, about 35 minutes
4. Stir in the rest of the herbs and simmer for 10 minutes more
5. Taste and correct the seasoning. Remove the bay leaf. Sprinkle with fresh basil, and serve at once.