Georgia on my mind. There are two Georgia’s. The one in the United States and the other (Republic of Georgia) located south of Russia near Turkey, Persia and Armenia. This post is not on the State of Georgia who is right now in the midst of a huge voting battle for the next president. Although, the drama in US Georgia is rivaling some of the conflicts that the other Georgia has had for centuries with Russia. I wanted to hook you in with Georgia on my mind. Why? It has to do with my husband’s favorite meal this past week, a dish called Georgian Meat Soup or Kharcho, a spicy Georgian dish that has become very popular in Russia and has found its way to the tables of every part of Russia. The cuisine in Georgia is heavily influenced with the flavors that come from Persia, Turkey and Armenia.
My husband is easy to feed. This is not to say that he will eat anything. He has some standards, but if push comes to shove, he will open a package of ramen and fix it up to suit his palette. Luckily for him, he has me. Eating this stew-soup makes the end of a crisp fall day more perfect. Trust me. Every bite is a warm bowl of goodness for the soul especially if you are weary with the the counting numbers in Georgia, the voting in all of America, the protests in Oregon, the crazy talk in the media, the left, and the right. The Georgia near Russia has experienced all of what we are experiencing right now- serious political tensions and rivalry and that did not end so well for those two.. I’m dismayed by talks about violence, can we rise above it all? Part of this post is about my protest through food. Food is a way to bring people together. Food brings joy to the table. So it may be too simple to be talking about this wonderful meat soup but I wanted to bring a little hope, joy, and a satisfying soul meal to your belly. I know it did so for my husband.
I may be making it again this week just to feel a little bit better about what’s going on in our country. Prayers for both the Georgia near Russia and for the United States’ Georgia. Let us come together so that we can wake up tomorrow with a brighter hope for the future whatever that may look like. It’s a big ask.
The recipe: adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen
Georgian Meat Soup
3 lb beef stew meat
3 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt)
4 Tbsp light olive oil (or any cooking oil), divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 cups beef broth + 4 cup filtered water (regular water is fine)
28 oz can diced tomatoes (I used instead a can of Diced Rotel -it has a spicy flavor)
2 dry bay leaves
1 tsp ground coriander seeds or ground
1 tsp smoked paprika or regular
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup uncooked white rice (I used Jasmine)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, plus more to serve
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped, plus more to serve
1. Sprinkle meat with 3 tsp salt and stir. Heat a dutch oven or soup pot over medium/high heat and add 2 Tbsp oil. Once oil is hot, add beef in 2 batches, sautéing until browned on all sides (don’t worry about cooking it through). Remove from pot and set aside.
2. Add chopped onion and celery with more oil as needed. Saute 5 minutes until softened.
3. Add canned tomatoes with their juice, 4 cups broth, 4 cups water, 2 bay leaves and browned beef. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is tender.
4. Add 1/2 cup white rice, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 pressed garlic cloves, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp paprika. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
5. Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup parsley and 1/4 cup dill then cover and let sit off heat another 10 minutes before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed and serve with more fresh herbs as desired. ENJOY.