Georgian Chicken with Grapes

There are so many immigrants from the Soviet Republic of Georgia now in Israel that this dish has entered the Israeli repertoire. The Georgian climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean, and Georgian wines are the best in the U.S.S.R. This dish is served on Friday nights. Instead of pot-roasting the chicken, you can also oven roast it.
meat, kosher for Passover


serves 4 to 6
1 lemon
1 whole roasting or frying chicken, about 3 pounds
3 tablespoons oil
3 onions, chopped
2 cups ground beef or lamb
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
about 2 cups unsweetened red grape juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons blanched almonds, halved
small grape clusters for garnish


1. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and reserve. Rub the empty lemon halves over the chicken.

2. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over high heat and fry the onions until transparent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the onions and ground beef or lamb and saute, stirring frequently, until the meat loses its redness. Drain off the excess fat and reserve it.

4. Saute meat another 5 minutes, then add the spices, salt, 1 cup grape juice, lemon juice, and sugar to the pan.

5. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Stuff the chicken with the meat mixture.

6. Pour the reserved fat back into the skillet and brown the chicken all over.

7. Transfer chicken to Dutch oven or casserole and add 1/2 cup grape juice, water, and the almonds to the pot.

8. Cover tightly and simmer over very low heat for 3 hours, or until cooked through.

9. Baste every 30 minutes with pan juices and add more grape juice if liquid diminishes.

10. Transfer chicken to a serving platter and pour cooking liquid over.

11. Decorate with grape clusters before serving. Serve with white rice.

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