Sunday, December 2 –
This was one of those dinners that went from four people to fifteen people really, really quickly. Good thing I had already picked a recipe that made a lot of food! We had: BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma (lots of wine), Mr. Hero, BabyBear, RamblingMan, WingWoman (gluten-free baklava), LightsOn, ChinUp, MyBuddy (lamb stew), DangerD (plates, cups, rum, coke), CreepShow (Chikhirtma – Fresh Coriander-Onion Soup), Kodiak, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ (dumplings), and yours truly (Chanakhi – Braised Lamb).
The dish I made was extremely simple, so I doubled it to accommodate so many guests. I chopped some eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, onion,and green beans and layered them all into different glass baking dishes. Then I spread out chopped lamb meat, salt, pepper, and (of course, even though it wasn’t in the recipe originally) garlic. I changed the water to chicken broth, hoping that would add more flavor and character. Wrapped in aluminum foil they went into the oven at 325* for an hour, and when checked the potatoes weren’t quite done so I did 20 more minutes at 400*.
On the side I also made a tomato and cucumber salad brightened with lemon, mint, salt, and olive oil. I also made a huge pot of rice for something to scoop the juices onto. The table also had a bowl of cilantro to put on whatever people wanted and the dumplings, sauce, stew, and soup. People dished up as much or as little of each thing as they wanted.
The braised lamb that I made wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either. The veggies were pretty good but the lamb was pretty tough and flavorless when it was done. The dumplings were amazing and the sauce on top was incredible. The tomato salad was a perfect bright spot on the plate. The stew was amazing and flavorful and I instantly wanted more. The soup was… well… loud. The flavors of it were amazing but it had been allowed to sit and get stronger for several hours so when we finally got to eat it, it was very intense. The baklava was about as you expect baklava to be (buttery and nutty), just less flaky.
Overall I would count this dinner as a success, but not one of my favorites. I can’t wait for the Germany potluck on Saturday!
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.russian.recipes-recipies.com)
Chanakhi, Braised Lamb (Georgian manner)
- 500 g lamb (1+ lb)
- 750 g potatoes (1 – 2/3 lb)
- 200 g tomatoes (2/5 lb)
- 300 g eggplant (2/3 lb)
- 200 g string beans (2/5 lb)
- 1 onion
- Salt, pepper
- Parsley or kindza (coriander)
Wash the meat and cut into pieces (2 or 3 per portion). If available, use a 2 or 3 liter stoneware casserole. Add finely chopped onion, chunks of potatoes, tomatoes cut in half, string beans from which the strings have been removed, diced eggplant, parsley greens or kindza. Season with salt and pepper. Add two cupful of water. Cover with a lid and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serve in the casserole.