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Tempered egg yolks make for a velvety soup without milk or cream
Milk Street Bowtie Georgian Chicken Soup (Chikhirtma)

Georgian Chicken Soup (Chikhirtma)

Appears in March-April 2017

1 hr 45 min 45 min active

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Georgian Chicken Soup (Chikhirtma)

Free

We wanted a chicken soup that tastes fresh and light, yet also robust and satisfying. We found our answer in chikhirtma, a traditional soup from Georgia, the Eurasian country that bridges Turkey and Russia. Georgian cuisine often marries Western techniques with Eastern flavors. We used a recipe from Darra Goldstein, author of “The Georgian Feast,” as our starting point. Her chikhirtma calls for a whole chicken, but that much meat made the soup feel heavy, so we used just chicken legs. We built flavor with bunches of dill and cilantro stems and a head of garlic, as well as coriander, cinnamon and bay leaves.

6

Servings

Tip

Don’t substitute white meat. Bone-in dark meat is better suited to this recipe. The bones and collagen add flavor and body to the broth, and the dark meat is less apt to dry out.

1 hr 45 min

45 min active

1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh dill
1 garlic head, halved crosswise
2½-3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken legs
10 cups water
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 pound carrots (about 5 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups)
3 tablespoons salted butter
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup dry vermouth
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
¼ cup lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
Ground black pepper
For the broth and chicken
  • 1

    bunch fresh cilantro

  • 1

    bunch fresh dill

  • 1

    garlic head, halved crosswise

  • 2½-3

    pounds bone-in skin-on chicken legs

  • 10

    cups water

  • 1

    large yellow onion, peeled and quartered

  • 1

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1

    teaspoon black peppercorns

  • ½
  • ½

    teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1

    3-inch cinnamon stick

  • 2

    bay leaves

For the soup
  • 1

    pound carrots (about 5 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 1

    large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups)

  • 3

    tablespoons salted butter

  • ¼

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½

    cup dry vermouth

  • 1

    tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 6

    large egg yolks

  • ¼

    cup lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)

  • Ground black pepper

Take a bite out of garlic Hero Image

Milk Street Cooking School

How to take the harshness out of garlic

Directions
  1. 01
    Tie the stems of the cilantro and dill into bundles, then trim off the leaves, reserving ¼ cup of each for garnish. In a large pot, combine both sets of stems, the chicken and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the garlic head and transfer the chicken to a plate and cool until easily handled. Once cool, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin, bones and cartilage. Set aside.
    See Demo
    Make the broth
  2. 02
    To make the soup, strain the broth into another pot or bowl, discarding the solids. Wipe out the empty pot, then add the carrots, onion, butter and salt. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the vermouth, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the broth and stir until smooth, then add the remaining broth and bring to a simmer.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks. Continue whisking while slowly adding 1 cup of hot broth from the pot. Whisk in the lemon juice, then return the mixture to the pot and whisk to combine. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices and cook until just heated through (do not simmer). Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with chopped cilantro and dill leaves.
    See Demo
Tip: Don’t substitute white meat. Bone-in dark meat is better suited to this recipe. The bones and collagen add flavor and body to the broth, and the dark meat is less apt to dry out.
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Reviews
Patrick M.
June 23, 2022
Absolutely Wonderful
I was afraid it was doing to be heavy, but after watching the video and trusting the process I was rewarded with a delightfully light, bright, but hearty chicken soup that is perfect for this early Summer evening. Saved a couple of the poached garlic cloves to spread on some small toasted french bread to eat with the soup.
Amy H.

Fabulous recipe! I've already shared the recipe with several of my colleagues. One important omission comparing the printed recipe to the video... In the recipe, you instruct us to remove the head of garlic and set aside. In the video, you demonstrate squeezing the softened garlic back into the soup -- which is a great addition! If I hadn't watched the video first, I would have know to do that. I added some fine egg noodles to the finished soup, which absorb that delicious broth and fill out the dish a bit.

Colleen M.

Great recipe! Rich, flavorful but also light at the same time.

Christopher S.

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Anne D.

Will this soup be okay as leftovers? I’m wondering how the egg yolk broth holds up.

Lynn C.

Hi Anne -

The soup should be OK as leftovers. The egg mixture won't separate as it cools but it *is* heat-sensitive so make sure to reheat it very gently over low heat on the stovetop rather than in a microwave.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Andrea N.

I’ve made this recipe many times and it reheats beautifully! I’ve never had a cooked yolk issue, but I suppose it’s possible. Such a wonderful soup, thank you MS!

Andrea N.

I’ve made this recipe many times and it reheats beautifully! I’ve never had a cooked yolk issue, but I suppose it’s possible. Such a wonderful soup, thank you MS!

Lori O.

I loved the flavors of this despite the chicken tasting a little overcooked. I cooked for 45 minutes in the first step as instructed. Did I maybe have the heat too high? Would love your feedback. I've been cooking more meat since discovering Milk Street so still getting the hang of it. Thank you!

Angie W.

This is a great soup! I added egg noodles... will make again

Bethany S.

Super good and definitely making again! The egg yolks make it surprisingly creamy which is amazing for my dairy-free husband and it was easy to make it gluten-free for me (celiac).
I used bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs instead of legs (because it was what I had on hand) and it worked perfectly. I also substituted a King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour (to make it gluten free due to celiac) and I think that worked well too.
I added raw chopped asparagus (about 1-inch spears) at the same time as the carrots and that is a pretty good time to add those in as well. I may drop the carrots and asparagus in a bit later the next time I make this, maybe 5 minutes into cooking the onions, just because I personally like them a bit more crunchy. I think next time I make this, I'll add in a gluten free pasta as well! (I love the suggestion for egg noodles but alas, I am allergic to those.)

Jenna H.

Very good! I love that it's creamy but without the use of milk products (I did use olive oil instead of butter). I served it by putting a scoop of white rice in each bowl and spooning the soup over it. Warm and filling, but still light and refreshing!

Sarah R.

So rich and creamy yet simultaneously light. Having added egg noodles thanks to other commenters’ suggestions, this may be my go-to chicken noodle soup from now on. The broth is incredible.

Leftovers reheated well in the microwave with no effect on texture, but it was much less flavorful the second day. Maybe the noodles soaked it all up?


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Georgian Chicken Soup (Chikhirtma)

Get Ready to Cook

6

Servings

1 hr 45 min

45 min active

Tip

Don’t substitute white meat. Bone-in dark meat is better suited to this recipe. The bones and collagen add flavor and body to the broth, and the dark meat is less apt to dry out.

For the broth and chicken
  • 1

    bunch fresh cilantro

  • 1

    bunch fresh dill

  • 1

    garlic head, halved crosswise

  • 2½-3

    pounds bone-in skin-on chicken legs

  • 10

    cups water

  • 1

    large yellow onion, peeled and quartered

  • 1

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1

    teaspoon black peppercorns

  • ½
  • ½

    teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1

    3-inch cinnamon stick

  • 2

    bay leaves

For the soup
  • 1

    pound carrots (about 5 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 1

    large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups)

  • 3

    tablespoons salted butter

  • ¼

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½

    cup dry vermouth

  • 1

    tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 6

    large egg yolks

  • ¼

    cup lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)

  • Ground black pepper

Take a bite out of garlic Hero Image

Milk Street Cooking School

How to take the harshness out of garlic

Step 1 of 3

Make the broth

1
bunch fresh cilantro
1
bunch fresh dill
1
garlic head
2½ to 3
pounds bone-in skin-on chicken legs
10
cups water
1
large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1
teaspoon kosher salt
1
teaspoon black peppercorns
½
teaspoon coriander seeds
½
teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3
-inch cinnamon stick
2
bay leaves

Tie the stems of the cilantro and dill into bundles, then trim off the leaves, reserving ¼ cup of each for garnish.


In a large pot, combine both sets of stems, the chicken and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the garlic head and transfer the chicken to a plate and cool until easily handled.


Once cool, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin, bones and cartilage. Set aside.

Step 2 of 3

Cook the aromatics, make the roux and add liquid

1
pound carrots (about 5 medium), peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch pieces
1
large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups)
3
tablespoons salted butter
¼
teaspoon kosher salt
½
cup dry vermouth
1
tablespoon all-purpose flour
2
cups broth

To make the soup, strain the broth into another pot or bowl, discarding the solids.


Wipe out the empty pot, then add the carrots, onion, butter and salt. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is browned, 10 to 12 minutes.


Add the vermouth, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.


Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.


Add 2 cups of the broth and stir until smooth, then add the remaining broth and bring to a simmer.

Step 3 of 3

Temper the eggs and return the shredded chicken to the soup

6
large egg yolks
¼
cup lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks. Continue whisking while slowly adding 1 cup of hot broth from the pot.


Whisk in the lemon juice, then return the mixture to the pot and whisk to combine.


Add the chicken and any accumulated juices and cook until just heated through (do not simmer). Taste and season with salt and pepper.


Serve with chopped cilantro and dill leaves.

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