Boiled Meat and Broth

“Khashlama (Georgian: ხაშლამა) is a boiled beef dish popular in the Kakheti region of Georgia and usually always part of a Kakhetian supra (feast). In the eastern mountain regions of Georgia (e.g. Tusheti) Khashlama is made with lamb.” — SOURCE

Irina Petrosian, author of ‘Armenian Food — Fact, Fiction, and Folklore’ describes khashlama as ‘a favorite for Armenian food lovers who enjoy natural, plain flavors.’ Petrosian also makes reference to khashlama from the cookbook, “The Oriental Cookbook – Wholesome, Dainty and Economical Dishes of the Orient, Especially Adapted to American Tastes and Methods of Preparation”, by Ardashes Keoleian, formerly of Constantinople, printed in 1913. Keoleian indicated that khashlama is an economical, popular dish where you make separate use of meat and broth.

His cookbook offers numerous khashlama recipes, including boiled brain, tongue, beef, part-or-all of a lamb, chicken, and more. Some khashlama recipes include vegetables, other versions are plain, but all of them have the basic components of meat and broth.” — SOURCE

Khashlama
Khashlama

Khashlama
Khashlama

Khashlama
Khashlama

Cooking Method

I prefer slowly cooked beef shanks for regular khashlama and leg of lamb for festive version. A slow cooker/crock pot is the most convenient device for me to make this dish. Otherwise, I could layer vegetables and meat in a cust iron pot, bring water to boiling on the stove, and finish in the 300F oven by slowly cooking for another 3-4 hours. There is also a version when meat is cooked first; then it is layered with vegetables in small ceramic or clay pots and cooked in the oven to serve khashlama individually portioned. In this case, it only takes 1-1.5 hours in the oven — just to cook vegetables.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Liquid. Many recipes replace 0.5-1 cup of water with beer or wine. The beer taste should be balanced and not overly hoppy. I’ve seen recipes with white and red wines equally often, but in the case of whites, I’d stay away from oaked ones. Wine is used to add a little bit of fruitiness and tartness to the final taste.

Vegetables. Main vegetables for festive version: onions, garlic, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. Optional vegetables: potatoes, turnip, green beans. I also added untraditional kohlrabi, young golden(!) beets, and parsnip — they all work here well, contributing nice earthy aromas to the complexity of the dish. If you start with whole tomatoes, they need to be peeled before serving. Another option is to use whole peeled canned tomatoes.

Herbs and spices. This group of ingredients is what makes this dish amazing! Salt and black pepper are for seasoning. This dish is not supposed to be very spicy hot, but it requires some heat from red chili peppers. They can be added as dry flakes/powder as well as fresh sliced or slit. The amount depends on your personal preferences.

Adding dry or fresh herbs depends on the season and availability. I tend to use all fresh herbs, but if impossible then at least parsley and cilantro. Fresh herbs are usually used whole and removed from the soup before eating. The more variety of herbs in the dish, the better. I often use a little bit of powdered blue fenugreek (nutty flavored herb) or the whole Georgian spice mix khmeli suneli in my khashlama even though it’s just an option. Imeretian saffron (safflower) or real saffron, on the other hand, are a must.

Khashlama

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Total Time12 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine: Armenian, Georgian
Keyword: lamb, meat, recipe, vegetables
Servings: 4 portions

Ingredients

meat and vegetables (for 5.5-6 quart pot)

  • 2 lb lamb leg of lamb or 8 1" thick t-bones
  • 1 each onion large
  • 1 head garlic whole, most of dry skin removed
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled
  • 8 each sweet peppers mini, or 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 each jalapeno red
  • 16 each potatoes young, small (~1 lb)
  • 16 each tomatoes small (~1.5 lb)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt adjust to taste

herbs and spices (for 5.5-6 quart pot)

  • 1 bunch cilantro fresh
  • 1 bunch parsley fresh
  • 1 tsp basil dry
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon dry
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram dry
  • 1 tsp blue fenugreek dry, powdered, optional
  • 2 each bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp safflower
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1/2 tsp dry red chili flakes, adjust to taste

Instructions

  • Prepare all the ingredients. Cut leg of lamb into 1" cubes. Peel and slice onions. Wash peppers, remove stems and seeds. Peel garlic. Wash fresh herbs. Measure seasoning and spices.
    Khashlama Ingredients
  • Arrange onion slices on the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Place the whole head of garlic in the center. Add peppercorns and cloves.
    Khashlama layers
  • Add vegetables and half of dry herbs and spices.
    Khashlama layers
  • Arrange whole fresh herbs to cover vegetables and place meat (leg of lamb cubes on the picture) on top. Season it and add the rest of the herbs and spices.
    Khashlama layers
  • Arrange tomatoes on the meat. Fill the pot with water, so it comes to the top of the meat (lamb t-bones on the picture).
    Khashlama layers
  • Bring to boiling on HIGH for 1-1.5 hours, then turn to LOW and cook for another 5 hours without opening the lid.
  • Serve hot, meat and vegetables on a plate and strained broth in a small bowl. Herbs and bay leaf are to discard. As for t-bones, it is up to you to serve meat with or without bones. The meat will separate from the bone easily with a spoon or fork. Khashlama is served with regional flat bread.
Khashlama