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
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.