The flavor profile of this dish is harmonic – tender lamb, all the kinds of fresh herbs that can be found in spring, coriander, garlic cloves, sorrel, watercress, green onion, green pepper, mint, fresh tkemali plum, tarragon, and white wine.
Lamb is the main character while the other ingredients revolve around it. The ingredients are all put, one by one, into a pot and frothed on low heat. The ingredients must juxtapose together to create a singular flavor bouquet. That is why the dish is called “Chakapuli” (meaning “frothed” in Georgian).
You can replace the lamb with veal if you prefer, but keep in mind that the meat must be fatty.
Using Kakhetian white qvevri wine is a must for Chakapuli and in Kakheti, you cannot eat Chakapuli without “mother’s bread” baked in tone oven. In recent years, a tradition of preparing Chakapuli with chicken, fish, eggs, mushrooms, and/or potatoes has also taken root. Mushrooms and fish dishes are especially common during fasting periods.
Traditional Chakapuli is unique, but the variety of the ingredients creates a harmony of flavors.
2 kg meat;
3 bunches green onions;
5-6 large bunches of tarragon;
2 bunches sorrel;
2 large bunches of coriander;
1 bunch parsley;
2 cups tkemali;
Mint to taste;
Green pepper to taste;
White wine (preferably qvevri), according to the mass of the dish.
Cut a bulb of onion into round pieces. Remove the stems from the tarragon so only the leaves are left, then cut the well-rinsed herbs into decently sized pieces. For more fattiness in the Chakapuli, use the fatty tail of the sheep along with the lamb. The lamb should be cut into medium-sized pieces, while the sheep tail should be sliced very finely.
Put the tail pieces into the pot first, and let them brown until the fat starts to melt. Then take the solid fatty pieces out of the pot and place the lamb meat onto the melted fat while layering the chopped herbs onto it. But make sure to leave some herbs uncooked, to place on top at the end. Cover the ingredients in the pot with the wine right away. Add the tkemali before the meat is thoroughly boiled. Continue boiling on low heat until the tkemali softens and turns a dark color. Finally, add the salt, pepper, and the rest of the herbs.
Your spring symphony, Chakapuli, is ready!