Shkmeruli takes its name from Shkmeri, a beautiful Rachan village in the high mountainous region of Georgia. It was the inhabitants of this tiny village that came up with the idea of seasoning crispy chicken with milk and garlic. Eventually, that fantastic flavour began to win over people from all over the country, and shkmeruli has since become an immensely popular dish across the nation.
They say that the natural products of every region have their own specific tastes, but the foods made by Rachan housewives and cooks have a flavour all their own.
Shkmeruli is prepared as follows:
Clean and wash a young chicken (preferably village raised), cut it in half, and salt both halves.
Put the chicken skin-side down into a buttered pan over high heat until it becomes crispy.
A heavy object (such as a rock) is placed on top of it so that it spreads out well across the pan.
After frying one side well, turn the chicken over and fry the other side, ensuring that the heavy object is placed atop it.
Take the fried chicken out of the pan, cut it into a few pieces, and place it into a ketsi (a clay board).
The clay gives the dish a special favour, so, to this day, this traditional Georgian earthenware is considered indispensable when making shkmeruli.
Fry some crushed garlic in the leftover oil. The garlic should be juicy, so it is necessary for it to be crushed. While it is frying, be sure to constantly stir the garlic to ensure it does not burn.
Once the colour has changed slightly, pour in a cup of milk and let it boil for about two minutes.
Pour the sauce onto the chicken laid in the ketsi until it is covered, and place it back onto the heat.
In a few minutes, this wonderful smellign dish will be ready to eat!
It is worth noting that in some villages in Racha, milk is not used, with only garlic and water added to the remaining oil in step 5.
The ingredients and amounts needed for shkmeruli are as follows:
1 kg chicken;
1 tbsp crushed garlic;
1 cup (250 ml) milk;
50 g butter;
Salt to taste.
Shkmeruli is a hot dish which is brought to the supra table after the festivities have begun. Bringing it to the table in a hot ketsi is considered a special event, and so it is placed at the centre of the table in a position of honour.
It should be noted that Georgian wine adds even more flavour when paired with shkmeruli. Gourmands recommend pairing the Rachan dish with a white, semi-dry or dry wine.