24/07/2011

Tchanakhi with Romanesco Broccoli and Pickled Vegetables

Чанахи - Tchanakhi (or Chanakhi) is a Georgian dish of slow-cooked lamb and aubergine. That's Georgia the country, not the state in the US.

The ingredients are simple - lamb or mutton of any cut, aubergine, tomatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, parsley and pototoes. Potatoes? Yes! Generally, we'd leave them out of a paleo diet given the high insulin response that is generated, but some people might be okay with leaving them in.

My local Russian Restaurant http://www.rurest.co.uk uses Tkemali in their Tchanakhi - a Georgian plum sauce of both red and green cherry plums, garlic, coriander, dill, cayenne pepper and salt. It should be pungently sour!

To the kitchen ...

Put a casserole dish next to your chopping board - a crock pot or slow cooker would do; just something with a lid. We're going to layer the ingredients in, so read on and take your time - no cooking is required at this point.

Place pieces of lamb of mutton as a base for the dish, cut into manageable pieces - this should be about half of the content of the dish as a whole. Pour over some Tkemali and shower with chopped parsley. If you're going to make your own Tkemali, just stone the plums and add all the ingredients to a blender, adding a little water if necessary to make a pouring sauce.

Chop an onion and layer over. Slice up some carrots into thin slices of a couple of millimetres and layer over the lamb. Grind a little black pepper over at this point.

Cube up aubergine and layer over the top - these vegetables make up the other half of the dish. Shower more parsley over.

Place a good spoonful of fat in the middle of the dish - lard, tallow or bacon grease is all good.

Make up a beef stock and add some minced garlic before pouring over the dish which should just cover it.

Lid on ... oven set to 200C for an hour and then drop the heat to 120C for a couple more hours.

The sauce will reduce as it cooks, but if a thicker sauce is required simply add a little arrowroot stirred in a few minutes before serving ... best, made into a liquid with a splash of vodka!

Serve with something green - salted boiled cabbage or Romanesco broccoli and maybe some pickled vegetables alongside. My local Russian Restaurant serves this with creamy mashed potatoes on the side rather than in the dish.

Sadghegrdzelo!

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