Kharcho is a traditional Georgian soup originating in Mingrelia containing beef, rice, cherry plum purée and chopped English walnut. The soup is usually served with finely chopped fresh coriander
For the soup:
1 pound of veal or beef bones
2 quarts of bottled water
¼ teaspoon Kitchen Browning Sauce – more if needed to give a good color (optional)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of cilantro
¼ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
1 large onion
2 tablespoons of walnut oil (preferred) or olive oil
1 ¾ teaspoons of salt
¼ cup Georgian Green Tkemali sauce (available at Russian delis or buy it from here – be sure and use the green version, not the red, as it is more flavorful) (Substitution – use 1/8 cup A-1 steak sauce mixed with 1/8 cup plum, apricot or quince jam)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup uncooked rice
2 pounds *tender* leftover meat such as from brisket or beef stew cut into bite-sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
¼ teaspoon of cayenne
¼ teaspoon of paprika
3 tablespoons (or more) of finely chopped fresh herbs (I recommend basil, cilantro and dill)
Fresh ground black pepper
The Hirshon Khmeli Suneli – Combine a generous ½ teaspoon each of: ground coriander seed, dried basil, ground caraway seed, ground marigold flowers (buy from here or use turmeric), and lastly Utskho Suneli (Wild Blue Fenugreek) – buy from here or use regular ground fenugreek
Bring the bones to a boil in up to 2 quarts of water (or use enough to cover) and skim the foam that rises to the surface. Then add the bay leaves, cilantro sprigs and peppercorns and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Strain and discard all, saving the broth.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onions and cook in oil until very soft but not brown. Add them to the soup along with salt and rice – cook for 15 minutes, then add the lemon juice and tkemali sauce.
Stir in the freshly ground pepper, the garlic, cayenne, paprika and ground spices + the meat. Cook for 10 minutes more. (The soup may be cooled and refrigerated at this point. When ready to serve, heat gently, then proceed with the recipe.)
Stir in the fresh herbs and let the soup stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with hearty bread and butter and a good Georgian red wine such as Khvanchkara or Khindzamarauli – failing that, try a fruity/spicy Pinot Noir or Malbec.