This hearty ‘peasant’ soup hails from Georgia in the Caucasus, a region between the Black and Caspian Seas where Europe meets Asia in a melting pot of cuisines. Once annexed by the Soviet Union along with Azerbaijan and Armenia, Georgia now proudly celebrates its independence, yet life for its 4 million inhabitants isn’t easy.
Consequently, the people of Georgia are feisty and self-reliant and have the enviable ability to make delicious food out of whatever can be grown in the backyard. From rich bean stews to aubergine and walnut delicacies, Georgians know how to put a satisfying, low-cost meal on the table.
K’artop’ili Sauzi is commonly thought of as a stew in Georgia but New Zealanders are more likely to regard it as a soup. Don’t let its simple list of ingredients fool you – this recipe is one you’ll come back to time and time again.
½ kilo Agria (or similarly floury potatoes)
450g tin peeled and chopped tomatoes
1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
2tsp vegetable or beef stock powder
½ tsp chilli flakes
2Tbsp sunflower oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Small onion (preferably red), chopped
2Tbsp fresh coriander leaf, chopped
Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil in a saucepan of unsalted water. When tender, do not drain. Crush (don’t mash) the potatoes in the saucepan.
Add to the crushed potatoes the remaining ingredients except for the onion and coriander. Add water if necessary to thoroughly cover the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes until flavours mingle. Season with salt if required
Ladle into serving bowls and top with a generous amount of chopped onion and coriander leaf (concentrate the garnish in a small mound in the centre of the bowl).