Georgian Lamb and Rice Soup (Kharcho)

Kharcho Soup

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Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 110 mins
Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
433 Calories
24g Fat
29g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 433
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 255mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 25g
Calcium 133mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Georgia has a rich culinary tradition from which Russia has borrowed liberally. There are many variations of kharcho from family to family and region to region.

What is unequivocal is the use of tklapi, a dried sour plum roll (like fruit leather) available at import shops. If you can't find it, modern cooks use tamarind paste (available at Indian grocers) or a lot of lemon juice.


  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder meat (trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 8 cups water or stock
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces chopped sour plum roll (tklapi)
  • 1/2 cup rice (washed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup dill (chopped, for garnish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Dredge the lamb cubes in the flour. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter and brown the lamb cubes on all sides.

  2. Add the chopped onion, tomato paste, and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes, adding more butter, if necessary.

  3. Add the water or stock and 1 teaspoon optional salt. Bring to a boil, skimming any foam that rises to the surface, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Add the plum roll and rinsed and drained rice. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If soup becomes too thick, add more stock or water.

  5. Serve in heated bowls and garnish with chopped dill, if desired.