Cattle breeding has been practiced in Samegrelo since time immemorial and, just like in other mountainous parts of Georgia (like Tusheti or Mtiuleti), chobankaurma (a dish similar to jurjani) was prepared using the fresh heart and liver. The same ingredients are used to make jurjani, an extraordinary mix of meat and herbs with great health benefits.
Jurjani, or kuchmachi, is prepared only on special occasions. Jurjani, slow-cooked meat in adjika spice, is kept for winter. The difficulty in preparing this dish lies in the intricate process of cooking offal.
Fresh cow entrails must be set aside, carefully cleaned, and processed only after being approved by a certified veterinarian. The stomach is then washed and placed in lime water for 1 hour. Accordingly, the stomach is cleaned out easily, scraped, and treated with coarse salt. The intestines are also washed in this manner, to make them perfectly clean without maintaining the specific taste that lingers on such meat.
Washed and processed intestines are cooked to “well-done” in a thick-bottomed pot. After the first period of boiling, the intestines are taken out on a strainer, washed anew, and mixed with some chopped white onions, to be cooked again.
When everything is well cooked, it is strained through a colander, cut into cubes of equal size, and seasoned with a special mix of dried coriander, fenugreek, smoked pepper, fennel, and salt.
A thick-bottomed pot is then heated, into which lard is usually thrown, specifically the lard that previously melted during the jurjani cooking process. If there is not enough fat, beef fat is added and the intestines are stewed on a slow fire together with finely-chopped onions. When everything is cooked well, sprinkle on some more spices to taste. As a rule, the spices to be added have to be crushed by hand.
Jurjani should be brought to the table hot. Before serving, add finely-chopped fresh coriander and pomegranate seeds. Traditionally, jurjani was consumed with hot ghomi. Instead of placing the entire pot on the table, guests or family members are given their own individual plates of jurjani and ghomi. These days, it’s usually served in clay pots, which keep it hotter for longer.
To prepare jurjani you need:
● 200 gr beef rumen;
● 200 gr beef intestines;
● 200 gr beef heart;
● 200 gr beef liver;
● 4-5 white onions;
● 2-3 tsp ground savory;
● Chopped pepper to taste (keep in mind that the dish should be spicy);
● Salt to taste;
● 20 gr fat;
● 4-5 cloves of garlic;
● Two large pomegranates;
● One bunch of fresh coriander;
● Vinegar to taste;
● 10 gr dried coriander; and
● 10 gr fenugreek.
Jurjani has a distinctive and unforgettable taste, prepared in Samegrelo as a mark of respect for guests.