Traditional Georgian dish that will make you crave it all over again. Tender chicken is coated in a creamy and extremely flavorful Satsivi. It’s a Walnut Garlic Sauce that is a melt-in-your-mouth, lick-your-fingers delight.
Satsivi (Chicken In A Walnut Garlic Sauce)
If you think that most delicious European food comes from France or Italy, I’m going to pleasantly surprise you today. Have you ever heard of Georgian cuisine? Or more importantly, have you ever tried one? I bet you haven’t. Well, guess what? Today, we’re heading to Georgia to try one of the most popular and classic Georgian dish – Satsivi, or Chicken In A Walnut Garlic Sauce.
I have to say, Georgian cuisine has always been one of my favorite. When I lived in Ukraine, Georgian restaurants were all over Kyiv. I remember the time when my husband (then boyfriend) came to Kyiv to visit me, we went to one of the best Georgian restaurants. I think that was his first time trying Georgian food and he absolutely loved it.
What distinguishes Georgian food from other famous European cuisines? Georgians love to use sauces and to generously season their food. Their unique combinations of spices are anything but ordinary. These spices are very pungent and add a nice kick of flavor to any dish.
Perhaps, one of my favorite spice mix is Khmeli-Suneli. It’s a combination of fenugreek, red pepper, basil, coriander, turmeric, marjoram and some other herbs. It has a slightly spicy taste and is very fragrant. Georgians love using Khmeli-Suneli in a variety of their recipes. It’s actually a very popular spice mix across the whole Caucasian region.
There are several places where you can buy Khmeli-Suneli. First, if you have a Georgian, Russian or Ukrainian grocery store in the area, this spice mix should be available there. Or, you can also buy Khmeli-Suneli off Amazon.
Now, let me tell you a bit about the sauce. Unlike many chicken recipes that are swimming in creamy sauces, this recipe doesn’t have milk or cream or dairy. Thanks to the unique combination of Walnuts, Garlic, Chicken Broth and Khmeli-Suneli, it’s totally possible to create a non-dairy creamy-dreamy sauce that you can’t help but eat the last bits of it. This sauce is called Satsivi and you can use it not only for chicken, but also for turkey, fish and vegetables. Satsivi will enrich the taste of even the simplest dishes.
I actually have a little story to share with you. When I gave birth to my first daughter, she had a high bilirubin level following birth. It’s very common situation for newborns.
Our paediatrician advised that she spent a night under a special fluorescent light. This usually helps to reduce a high bilirubin level. But there’s one condition which is that a baby has to be totally undressed, only wearing a diaper. Long story short, it was one of the worst nights of my life. My daughter was crying a lot. Like all babies she wanted to snuggle to her mama, but we couldn’t remove her from under the lamp for the long period of time.
In the morning, my dad came to visit and brought us breakfast. My mom made Satsivi. At the very same time our paediatrician arrived and happily informed us that bilirubin levels went down and that we could go home. It was the best news ever. So after such an exhausting night, I was pretty hungry and couldn’t wait to eat. Let me just tell you, back then, it felt like Satsivi was the best food ever. I was so happy that we could finally go home, I enjoyed that Satsivi ever more. Now, every time when I have Satsivi, it brings me back those memories.
Satsivi can be made in advance and stored for 3 days in the airtight container in a fridge. And whenever you’re ready to serve, just sink your meat into the sauce and enjoy an earthy flavor and incredible taste of this traditional Georgian food. I guarantee, you will absolutely love it!
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever tried Eastern European food before and if you want to see more recipes like this?
- 1 whole chicken
- 4½ cups walnuts
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 medium onions, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon Khmeli-Suneli
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- small pinch of saffron
- 3 peppercorns
- 3 cloves
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 1 large onion, halved
- 1 large carrot
- 1 celery stalk, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- a few springs of parsley and dill
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The pot should fit the whole chicken. Add chicken and boil for a minute.
- Discard the water, clean the pot, rinse chicken and fill the pot with water again. Add chicken and the ingredients for the chicken broth. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook on a medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 50 minutes. (Don't let the broth to bubble, otherwise it will be cloudy). When chicken is cooked through, transfer it to a cutting board, slightly cool and cut into chunky pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet and over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
- Using a Kitchen Aid grinder attachment, grind walnuts and garlic. You need to do this 2-3 times. Press the mixture against mesh sieve to release the oil. Reserve walnut oil for salad dressings or for other recipes.
- Add sautéed onions to a walnut garlic mixer and grind again.
- Now, slowly stir in hot chicken broth, one ladle at a time until your sauce is nice and smooth but slightly runny. You might need to add 4-5 ladles of a broth.
- Stir in vinegar, coriander, Khmeli-Suneli, cayenne pepper, saffron and cinnamon.
- Add a sauce in a large sauce-pan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken to the sauce along with ½ of the chicken broth and simmer stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. In the very end, stir in peppercorns, cloves and season with salt and pepper to a taste.
- If Satsivi sauce came out too thick, add a little bit of broth.
- Serve Satsivi with a side salad and bread.
If you make this recipe, don’t forget to snap a picture and post it on Instagram with a hashtag #lavenderandmacarons. I’d love to see your creations.
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