Georgian Satsivi – Chicken in Creamy Walnut Garlic Sauce
Satsivi is one of the most famous Georgian sauces made with ground walnuts, garlic, and spices. Everything is mixed together with a bit of liquid, water or broth, until velvety smooth. This sauce tastes great on top of salads, grilled vegetables, and meat, but the most praised combination is with poultry. In Georgia, they make with whole chicken or turkey and serve it during the New Year celebration. I prefer Chicken Satsivi made with skinless chicken breast or thighs.
Another unusual fact about the Satsivi dish is that traditionally it always has been served cold straight from the fridge, even in winter. I never got used to that, so I serve my Satsivi Chicken slightly warm or room temperature.
The Best Side Dish for Chicken Satsivi
When I visited Georgia, I’ve noticed that simple fried potato is the most common side dish. I’ve been to many homes and wineries during our trip, and every time I’ve was invited to share a meal, fried potato was on the table. I think crispy roasted potato with rosemary and garlic will be a perfect pair to hearty Chicken Satsivi. Also, simple salad with roughly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and bell pepper, topped with a bunch of fresh herbs is a very traditional and authentic Georgian side dish as well.
What Spices to Use?
Georgians are very big on spices. They make signature blends and use them in almost every dish. My personal favorite is Khmeli Suneli, which is a mix of dried herbs and seeds ground together in a flavorful powder. It’s pretty inexpensive, and you can buy it in almost any Russian or Ukraine store all over the United States or order from Amazon. All the other spices I used are very common, and you probably already have them in your pantry.
If you want to try other Caucasus recipes, you should check out Lobio – Georgian vegetarian bean stew, and Jingalov Hats – Armenian flatbread stuffed with herbs and feta.
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cups walnut halves
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Khmeli Suneli Spice Blend
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, tot taste
- walnut or chili oil for garnish, optional
- Place the chicken in a medium pot cover with 4 cups of cold water, add a bay leaf, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 more minutes.
- Remove the pot from the stove, discard the bay leaf and drain the liquid, reserving about 1 1/2 cups of it; you're going to need it for the sauce. Slice the chicken into 3/4 inch thick strips and return to the pot.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan over the medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, not brown, for about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the spices and cook stirring for 1 more minute, then remove from the heat.
- In a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, and spiced onion, pulse until finely ground. Keep the food processor running and start slowly adding the reserved chicken broth until your sauce is smooth and velvety.
- Pour the walnut sauce over the chicken and return the pot on the stove. Bring to a simmer over the low heat. Adjust the seasoning to taste and simmer for a couple more minutes, or until the chicken is heated through. Then remove from the heat and let the chicken cool to room temperature. Serve cold or slightly warm drizzled with a finishing oil of your choice.
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