Georgian Chicken Soup (Chikhirtma) | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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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

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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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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