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Megrelian Kharcho

Megrelian Kharcho

Kharcho is a Georgian dish that can either have the consistence of a soup or a stew. This version – chicken with a thick sauce – is from the province of Megrelia, where the dish is often accompanied by polenta infused with smoked cheese. 


  • 2 lbs chicken, in pieces 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste  
  • 4 large onions 
  • ½ cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 cups walnuts 
  • 3 garlic cloves 
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste 
  • 3 Tbsp Khmeli Suneli, ground   
  • 1 tsp hot chilies, ground
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped 
  • Marigold petals, dried (opt.)  


  1. 1

    Remove any excess fat from the chicken. Salt and pepper the chicken. 

  2. 2

    Roughly chop onions. 

  3. 3

    Place the chicken fat in a large pan with oil and cook on medium until it melts.  

  4. 4

    Add the onions, cook stirring often until wilted and barely golden (7-8 minutes).

  5. 5

    Set aside half the onions. 

  6. 6

    Add the chicken to the pan and continue cooking until the pieces are cooked through.

  7. 7

    Pour enough water to cover the chicken. Simmer uncovered for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.    

  8. 8

    Meanwhile, grind half the nuts, garlic, tomato paste, Khmeli Suneli, chilies and set-aside onions. Reduce to a rustic paste. Add remaining nuts and continue to grind to a crumbly paste. Add half the cooking sauce from the chicken and mix well.

  9. 9

    Incorporate the paste into the pan to create a sauce that coats well. If necessary, add more water or thicken with finely ground walnuts.

  10. 10

    Let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Keep warm. Adjust the salt and pepper, if needed.

  11. 11

    Incorporate cilantro and garnish with Marigold petals, if desired.