Georgian chicken wings scented with khmeli suneli
Most folks visit a new country and come back with souvenirs that are sensible. Not in my case, I always come back with spices, herbs and bottles of unique ingredients to add to my already overloaded and strange pantry. This was the case in Georgia, Svantenian salt (3 flavours), khmeli suneli, blue fenugreek, dried marigold, wet and dry adjika, fruit leather, grape brandy, and Rachian smoked pork. I am always surprised that customs in any country let me through!
I discovered khmeli suneli during my recent visit to the markets of Tbilisi with Naomi Daguid. It is a spice blend that is unique to Georgia, and on the first sniff, I was in love with its gentle subtle aromas. The spice mix comes in a variety of blends with recipes varying between vendors and households. The core to the magic in this spice blend is blue fenugreek and marigold petals.
We had made a lovely Adjika in Georgia that contained khmeli suneli, but I was curious about what would happen to the beautiful aromas when the spice blend was cooked. I decided to experiment with these simple chicken wings.
The result was quite spectacular. The spices gently cook in the fat of the chicken wing skins and blossom, imparting a wonderful aroma and delicate spice. The sprinkling of Svatenian salt cuts through the fat and enhances the flavours of the spices. These are wings that are addictive, and yet so simple to make. This is a new flavour profile that is subtle and yet so addictive, one I am in love with.
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1 lb chicken wings, skin on, keep whole
1 teaspoon khmeli suneli
1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon Svanetian salt
The recipe for khmeli suneli is here.
Rub the wings with the khmeli suneli and 1 teaspoon of salt. Marinate at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours or 3-4 hours in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 375 ° F.
Layer the wings on a lined baking dish and roast for 25-30 minutes turning them once in the middle. The wings should be well-browned and charred in spots.
Alternatively, grill on a barbecue for 4-5 minutes per side till cooked through.
Serve garnished with the remaining Svanetian salt on top.