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June 29, 2010


Kharcho [kh='h' sound] is one of my favorite soups. It is served in most Russian/Ukrainian restaurants though it's really Georgian (the country, not the state). There are many ways to prepare this hearty, aromatic soup but most versions have a beef or lamb base, rice, a tomato element, lots of garlic, and fresh herbs.

*I usually cook this soup with hot sauce but recently I was introduced to Thai red curry paste so I used that instead, which was definitely a good move. I found red curry paste in an Asian food market - if you can't find it, use hot sauce.
*This recipe includes making your own beef stock. If you don't have the time/will, just use the store-bought kind and make a meatless version altogether - just use more rice.

(Yield: 6 servings)
Beef Stock:
3/4 lb brisket
1 tbsp salt
1 yellow onion, peeled
1 large carrot, whole
A handful of fresh herbs, tied together with string

3/4 c white rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 c chopped herbs (parsley, cilantro, tarragon and/or dill)

How to make the stock: place the beef in a pot and fill with just enough water to cover it. Cover with lid and bring to boil. Spill the water out and replace with new water, about 6 cups. Bring to boil and add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to a simmer, crack the lid and simmer for 1 hour. After the hour, discard the vegetables and remove beef from the pot.

How to make the soup: once brisket is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-size pieces and set aside.
Heat butter and oil on medium-low heat in a skillet and add the onion and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and sweat out for about 7 min. Add 3 tbsp of the stock along with the tomato and curry pastes. Stir until homogeneous and turn heat off. In the meantime, bring the stock back to boiling point and add the rice. Turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sauteed mixture and meat to pot, stir and taste for seasonings. Simmer for another 10 minutes, uncovered. Then turn the heat off, cover with a lid and let sit for 15 minutes, in order for the rice to release its starch. Then stir in the herbs and serve.

P.S: If your neighbors come a knockin', don't be surprised. Kharcho will make your house smell like garlic heaven ; )


Alen Agaronov said...

"Garlic heaven!?"
What propaganda!

I hope you enjoy it today, tomorrow, and the next day ;)

Jhonny walker said...

Hey Sasha,

my appologies for the horrendoous confusion about you being someone else. So glad you called it out! Anyways, I meant 'you' as the fantastic chef and its corrected now :)

Garlic is the only heaven I know. Lovely soup...