Say It With Me: Chakhokhbili

Chakhokhbili. I can’t blame you if your first urge was to say Gesundheit when you read this.  Yes, sounds a lot like a sneeze, and for some people it is very hard to pronounce.  Khokhobi in Georgian means pheasant.  Traditionally this dish was made with pheasant, but chicken took its rightful place right next to pheasant because it is so inexpensive and easily obtained.  And while pronounciation might be a bit troublesome to you, putting this flavorful dish together is ridiculously easy and requires no special skills other than chopping onions and herbs.

Fragrant Chakhokhbili With Green Peas

Like with anything else wildly popular, there are plenty of versions of this dish available.  The only requirement for chakhokhbili is to have a bird, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.  Everything else is up to a cook.  I’ve read somewhere that one of the requirements is to cook chicken without any additional fat for 15 minutes before adding anything else to the pot.  I would probably do so, had I not had skinless boneless thighs.  To cook that without fat is calling for trouble.  Next time I have the whole chicken, or at least some skin and bones with the meat, I will definitely try this technique.

Below recipe is my spin on chakhokhbili. I added green peas to it, just for color and added textural interest. I also cooked it with white wine, which I often do when I am out of stock. The herbs I used were that special “whatever is in the fridge” bouquet. I happened to have a nice variety simply because I love herbs and have a variety on hand most of the time.  This is not a must.  But you do need fresh herb(s) of some sort if you want to end up with fragrant dish.  Fresh ripe tomatoes will work best, but frankly they are not in season right now and therefore aren’t as flavorful; also I don’t like to deal with blanching, peeling, seeding and chopping, so canned version will do just fine in this case.  I happened to have canned organic fire roasted tomatoes which are very tasty and work their magic in any dish no worse than the fresh ones.

Enjoy the recipe and feel free to improvise.

Chakhokhbili With Green Peas

  • 4 tbsp chicken fat or butter
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 3 lbs chicken meat, preferably a mix of white and dark, best with skin and bones for added flavor
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 3 tbsp)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes or 6-8 ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 cup green peas
  • variety (or at least one) of fresh herbs, finely chopped — dill, parsley, cilantro (best), basil, mint, tarragon (best)
  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5-6 minutes, or until onions are no longer juicy and are translucent and very fragrant.
  3. Add chicken, stir well and let it cook with onions until it’s no longer pink anywhere. Stir once in a while to rotate.
  4. Add dry spices, salt and pepper to taste, stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, stock (wine) and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes
  6. Add peas at this time, and about half of the herbs you chopped. Stir well and cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, add the remaining chopped herbs and stir.

Serve with rice or flat bread.

Fragrant Chakhokhbili With Green Peas

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Categories: Batch Cooking, Culinary Travels, Dinner, From The Garden, Main Courses, Quick & Simple, Stews, Traditional Nutrition

Author:Eat Already!

I am a cooking and writing addict born and raised in a cosmopolitan city on the Black Sea coast. Currently my interests include, but not limited to gardening, traditional nutrition, raw milk, fermentation techniques, books by Sitchin, Weston A. Price ideas, artisan bread making, anything handcraft, and many other, quite random, things. I believe in making things from scratch, in unpretentious dishes, visually un-altered food esthetics. I believe in reporting on daily cooking endeavors, not just on special occasion dishes. I believe everyone should learn how to cook at home because it's a great way to connect with your loved ones without saying too much, with your heritage without becoming an archivist, and with the world without learning languages...

2 Comments on “Say It With Me: Chakhokhbili”

  1. March 13, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    I like your recipe, I remember when I was a child in Idaho, my father went pheasant hunting with friends and brought back a pheasant. i suspect someone else actually shot it. Anyway we ate the bird, I remember getting a shot gun bead in my meat and was unimpressed. The best part were the feathers which my mother made into a pill box hat in the style of Jackie O. In those days women never went to church without a hat, and every woman in the choir wore a beanie. Jean Rowland was the last to wear a beanie at St. Marks.


  1. Worth Your Trouble — Chicken Tapaka | Eat Already! - May 14, 2014

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