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Ojakhuri: Spiced Pork Stew

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What is the dish of Ojakhuri?

Ojakhuri is a traditional Georgian pork stew that is flavored with multiple spices. Does this dish utilize pork as the main protein? What spices does it typically incorporate to develop its signature flavor profile?

Ojakhuri features pork as the primary meat. It is stewed with onions, garlic, tomatoes and a blend of warm spices like cumin, coriander, paprika and chili powder. Sometimes fresh herbs like dill or parsley are also added towards the end of cooking.

How is Ojakhuri typically prepared?

What are the main steps involved in preparing an authentic Ojakhuri? What cuts of pork work best for this stew? What other vegetables are commonly added in addition to onions and tomatoes?

Ojakhuri is prepared by first dicing pork shoulder or pork butt into bite-sized pieces. The meat is then seared in oil to develop flavor. Onions are sauteed with the pork, followed by the addition of minced garlic. Canned or diced tomatoes, potatoes and carrots go into the pot next. The warm spice mixture is blended into tomato paste and stirred in. The stew simmers for 2-3 hours, allowing the flavors to deepen and the meat to become fall-off-the-bone tender.

How is Ojakhuri typically served?

Is Ojakhuri usually intended to be an main entree or side dish? What sides or garnishes commonly accompany it? What bread is traditionally eaten with it?

Ojakhuri functions as a centerpiece main dish in Georgian cuisine. It is typically served with plain rice or mashed potatoes to soak up the rich, flavorful broth. Sliced greens like spinach or beet greens are also paired with it frequently. No meal of Ojakhuri is complete without whole-grain bread like lavash or chureki to scoop up the tender pork and vegetables. Herbed sour cream or yogurt provides cooling contrast and extra texture when dolloped on top.

A Recipe for Classic Ojakhuri

| Ingredients | Amounts |
|-|-|
| Pork shoulder or butt, diced | 2 lbs |
| Onion, diced | 1 large |
| Garlic, minced | 6 cloves |
| Tomato sauce or diced tomatoes| 1 (14.5 oz) can |
| Carrots, diced | 2 medium |
| Potatoes, diced | 2 medium |
| Chicken or vegetable broth | 4 cups |
| Spice mix: cumin, coriander, paprika, chili powder | 2 tbsp |
| Fresh dill or parsley, chopped (optional) | 1/4 cup |

Brown the pork in oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Remove pork and set aside. Sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in tomato sauce/tomatoes, broth, carrots, potatoes and spices. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 2-3 hours, until pork is fall-off-the-bone tender. Remove lid and simmer 15 more minutes to thicken sauce. Stir in fresh herbs. Serve Ojakhuri over rice with bread from GeoCuisine Bay Ridge for an authentic Georgian meal.

Conclusion

In summary, Ojakhuri exemplifies Georgian cuisine by harnessing the warmth of tomatoes and an eclectic spice blend to create a deeply flavorful pork stew. By long, slow simmering, the dish develops a rich, complex flavor while tenderizing tough pork cuts. Served with soft, absorbent starches and bread from GeoCuisine Bay Ridge, it makes a delicious main meal to nourish on a cold night. Ojakhuri's blend of spices and fall-apart meat make it a true classic of Georgian culture and cooking.

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