It was very hard to get a photo of this dish, mainly due to the fact that it smelt and tasted so fantastically good that I was too busy devouring it to remember to photograph it! This is probably the national dish of Armenia – meat marinated and barbequed, served with delicious crispy potatoes, onion rings and bread. It’s incredibly simple and incredibly good. While I still can’t quite capture the flavour of the khorovatz we ate in Yerevan and Gyumri, this is as close as I’ve come and it really is excellent. The meat used is pork or lamb, preferably on the bone and with a little fat. The below marinade recipe is for 8 pork or lamb chops, which will serve 4 people at the most – don’t underestimate just how good this is. The most important part of the cooking process is the wood fire (mixed with some heat beads is ok); nothing else will truly impart the proper khorovatz flavour.
8 chops, pork or lamb
2 onions, minced finely in a food processor
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp hot paprika
* 1 tsp svaneti salt (optional – only available if you’ve just come back from Georgia! Or if you ask me nicely.)
20-30 basil leaves, roughly torn
Mix onion, seasonings and basil leaves together in a large bowl; add the chops and rub the mix all over them. Marinade for at least 24 hours, 48 if you can, and re-rub the meat at least once during this time.
Cook over a wood-fired barbeque until done – you want plenty of charring on the outside. Serve with potatoes that have been par-boiled, sliced and tossed in any remaining marinade with a little oil and then roasted til browned and yummy. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and ta da! Serve with salad, thinly sliced red onion and bread and you have a killer bbq meal.