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Shkmeruli (chicken cooked in milk and garlic sauce) was one of our very favorite dishes when we traveled to the country of Georgia.
It has very few ingredients, which are traditionally combined together and baked in a Georgian red clay baking dish, called a ketsi.
While the whole recipe is relatively simple, after tasting it, it is very clear that sometimes less is better.
The rich flavor of crispy roasted chicken paired with the creamy garlic sauce is just perfect.
History of Shkmeruli
This traditional dish originates from the Racha region of Georgia. Georgia is known for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, and Shkmeruli is a representation of the culinary traditions found in this region.
In Racha, which is located in the western part of Georgia, ingredients like chicken, milk, and garlic are readily available, and the locals have been preparing dishes like Shkmeruli for generations. The dish reflects the simplicity and hearty nature of Georgian cooking, where traditional ingredients are combined to create delicious and satisfying meals.
What to Serve with Shkmeruli
We typically ordered this juicy roasted chicken dish along with some silky smooth mashed potatoes (this recipe for perfect mashed potatoes would do very nicely).
I’ve added links to our other favorite recipes from our travels through Georgia at the end of the post.
I highly recommend trying the Khachapuri, which is freshly baked bread stuffed with cheese and topped with an egg. It is a creamy sauce that is fantastically rich and delicious.
Another very popular Traditional Georgian dish is the khinkali, which is a stuffed pasta dumping. Most of the food from this country is heavy peasant food meant to be shared.
Another wonderful Georgian recipe that pairs well with Shkmeruli is Georgian Spinach Salad, Ispanakhis Pkhali. The spinach salad is made with cilantro and walnuts and will be a nice light and colorful side.
My best suggestion is to invite over a few friends and organize a Georgian food feast.
In Georgia nobody would ever think of having such a meal without a good deal of wine or chacha (Georgian brandy), followed by lots of singing and dancing.
Pin or bookmark the recipe for later!
Additional recipes from the country of Georgia that you might enjoy.
Yield 4 servings
- 1 whole chicken, about 3 1/2 lbs (1.6kg) cut into pieces (or use bone-in chicken pieces as you like)
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (30ml), such as sunflower (I don't recommend olive oil for this recipe)
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) Butter
- 8-10 Cloves Crushed Garlic, don't worry - this actually works
- 1 Cup (237ml) Whole Milk
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f (205 c).
- Wash and dry the chicken pieces, coat them with oil, and season lightly with a little salt and pepper.
- Heat in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Place the chicken flat in the hot oil, using a heavy object such as
another pan directly on the chicken to ensure the chicken skin
has good contact with the pan. Brown the chicken on both sides (10 minutes on the first, about 5 on the second)
- Place the chicken in a baking dish skin side down, and roast uncovered for 20 - 30 minutes until cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees) and skin is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow the chicken to rest.
- Mince the garlic and then flatten with the side of your knife to form a paste (or use a mortar and pestle).
- Add the butter to a small saucepan (you can substitute 1 tablespoon of pan drippings for some of the butter to add more rich chicken flavor to the sauce)
- Add the crushed garlic and lightly sauté.
- Add the milk and bring it to a boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Place the chicken in a small baking dish (Georgians use a shallow clay baking dish, called a ketsi)
- Pour the garlic milk sauce over the chicken, and bake for 5 minutes.
Amount Per Serving Calories 460Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 136mgSodium 230mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 43g
The nutritional information is an estimate only.
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