In an effort to prove that I’m competitive on the good wives market, I decided to make a dish of Georgian cuisine that N loves. It’s Georgia as in country, obviously, and even though I’m not a huge fan of their food, Georgians have been fantastic in their support of Ukraine and deserve to be recognized for that.
Don’t worry, though, there’s no tabacky in tabacky chicken, and there’s no chicken either. The recipe calls for small, young birds, and the creatures sold under the name of chicken around here are huge fat hens that won’t work for this recipe. So I got a few Cornish hens instead.
The first step is to split the hen in the middle on one side, so that it looks kind of splayed, like this:
Then you have to melt some butter (yes, good wife titles are rarely arrived at by way of green salads) and mix in salt, some crushed garlic, a bit of paprika, and any herbs you happen to like:
Then you baste each little hen with the concoction and let the birds rest for 30-40 minutes:
Now we will need a roasting pan with a smooth, non-ribbed bottom. It’s crucial that the bottom have no ribbing:
Now we pack the hens into the pan. If they don’t fit, it’s OK to put them belly to belly in pairs. Then we add some water to the pan. The hens should never be immersed but the water should cover the bottom of the pan fully. And now, the most important thing. We take a big pan with a very clean bottom, fill it with cold tap water, and place it on top of our tabacky chicken:
Now we put the whole contraption on slow fire and go do something else. The water in both pans will slowly heat and eventually begin to evaporate. A delicious jelly will form under the tabacky chicken and as a result a crust will appear. It’s important to turn the hens over a couple of times while the water in the bottom pan is slowly evaporating.
Tabacky chicken should only be served with fresh raw tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, sweet peppers, a buncj of parsley, and a bottle of red wine:
P.S. Forgot to mention that the whole point of all these efforts is that the meat practically slips off the bone and is very tender. I always make a lot because it tastes even better once you let it sit for one or two days.