Original recipe for Kharcho, a traditional Georgian soup known for its rich flavors and hearty ingredients:
Title: Hearty Georgian Kharcho Soup
1 lb (450g) beef stew meat, cubed
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped mixed vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, zucchini)
1 cup chopped potatoes
1/2 cup long-grain rice
6 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried marigold petals (optional)
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice preference)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
Sour cream for serving
In a large soup pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the cubed beef to the pot and brown it on all sides, seasoning it with salt and black pepper as it cooks.
Once the beef is browned, stir in the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes to enhance the flavor. Then, add the diced tomatoes and mixed vegetables. Cook for another 5 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften slightly.
Pour in the beef broth and bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Add the chopped potatoes, rice, bay leaves, dried marigold petals (if using), dried coriander, cayenne pepper, and ground cinnamon. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
Let the soup simmer over low to medium heat for about 40-45 minutes or until the beef and rice are tender. If needed, skim off any foam or excess fat that rises to the surface during cooking.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired. Remember that the flavors will continue to develop as the soup sits.
Once the soup is done, remove the bay leaves and discard them.
Serve the Kharcho soup hot, garnished with fresh cilantro or parsley. Optionally, offer sour cream on the side for people to add a dollop to their bowls as desired.
Enjoy this hearty and flavorful Georgian Kharcho soup with some crusty bread on the side for a complete and satisfying meal!