When you're camping at altitude in winter conditions, particularly in challenging mountain environments like those of the Georgian Caucasus, you need hearty and filling meals. Chicken soup is surely the ultimate comfort food, so this adaptation, which is inspired by local satsivi, hits the spot, every time. Satsivi is a traditional Georgian dish made with walnut sauce and served cold, either as a dipping sauce for boiled or fried turkey or chicken. It is usually made with walnuts, water, garlic, a combination of dried herbs, vinegar, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste. It's not dissimilar to hummus or tahini. However, I've taken some of those same ingredients to create a warming soup, served steaming hot.
- Cooked meat from the thighs and one breast of chicken (slow cook the pieces in the oven and when cold, pull the meat apart with forks or your hands)
- 1 cup walnuts, smashed to fine chunks/powder
- 1 cup coriander leaf
- 1 cup parsley leaf
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 onion
- 1 glass white wine
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 to 3 cups water (depending on how thick you like your soup)
- 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp hot paprika
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 50g butter
- Sea salt
- Camping stove and pot
- Bamboo chopping board
- Airtight container
- Insulated bottle
- Insulated coffee mug with airtight lid
- Wooden spoons
- Insulated bowl/mug to serve
Prior to your camping trip, put the pulled chicken into an airtight container, and chill in the fridge overnight. Use this to transport to camp. Mix the wine and sour cream together and transport in a leak-proof coffee mug. Fill your bottle with water. Place the spices, stock cube and walnuts in a small reusable container. Place the herbs, onion and garlic and butter in another reusable container. Hike to your chosen lunch spot, or overnight camp.
- In camp, finely chop the herbs, garlic and onion.
- Heat the pot, add butter and foam gently.
- Add the onion, garlic, herbs and spice/walnut mix; cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the wine, sour cream and water, bring to a simmer.
- Add the shredded chicken and cook for 15 minutes minimum. If you have the time and fuel, cook for longer as the flavours will intensify.
- Taste and season if needed.
- Serve in the insulated bowls or mugs and dig in!
Steaming chicken satsivi soup makes a great winter warmer. Keep it hot on the trail by serving this dish in insulated food jars.
Kieran Creevy is an expedition and private chef and International Mountain Leader. With more than 20 years’ experience in the field, he's done it all – from cooking a six-course tasting dinner with matched wines in a basecamp tent, to preparing homemade pumpkin and sage gnocchi with wild boar râgu in a snowhole camp in the Italian Alps.