Try Adyghe schips – an authentic rich soup and sauce that also can be a main dish!Yulia Mulino
There are several food items from Adyghe, a republic in the south of Russia, which are beloved and used every day in Russian cuisine: Adyghe salt and Adyghe cheese. Another culinary symbol of Adygea is ‘schips’ – a nourishing thick soup with paprika.
Schips is traditionally presented on the table at parties and festive events in Adygea. But it is also an everyday meal. There are as many variants of this dish as there are households. Each family has its own secrets of making schips. The main characteristics are the orange color which comes from red paprika and its thick consistency, which comes from adding flour. The most common types of flour are wheat or millet, but you might encounter rice and corn variations as well. Broth forms the basis of schips, and it can be based on beef, chicken, turkey or can even be vegetarian.
There are certain rules of making schips: it is mainly cooked on drawn butter or ghee, but you may use melted butter and a bit of oil. In order to give schips a rich texture and truly delicious taste you need to cook it on moderate heat. The authentic method of preparation is like a ritual: schips should be prepared outdoors in a big kettle on an open fire.
What gives a specific flavour to schips is the Adyghe salt that consists of salt, as well as local herbs and garlic. You may prepare a similar mixture yourself. Combine salt, dried garlic, coriander powder, dill, parsley, basil, marjoram, black pepper, paprika and hot pepper, and you’ll get the right seasoning.
Schips’ best feature is its versatility. In fact, you can serve it as a simple but authentic starter: in a bowl with this deep sauce surrounded by fresh bread or a ciabatta. Add a bit more broth in the sauce, sprinkle it with greens and you’ll get a nourishing soup. Place schips aside the meat you used for the broth, or serve with polenta, rice or any side dish of your choice, and you’ll get a fabulous nutritious main course. There are so many variations from this one recipe.
1. Place the whole chicken in cold water, add half an onion, bay leaves, black pepper and a bit of salt and start boiling.
2. After 15 minutes start removing any film to make the broth clean and transparent.
3. In one hour, check the chicken. If it is ready then turn off the heat and let sit.
4. Melt butter in a deep pan and add a bit of oil. You may use drawn butter or ghee, of course.
5. Chop the onion.
6. Fry it till nicely golden. Add red paprika and stir the mixture.
7. Add flour and keep stirring the onion.
8. In 3-5 minutes, start adding the broth. To make sure you don't get flour balls stir the sauce continuously.
9. Add spices and salt, or just Adyghe salt.
10. Continue adding broth till you reach the right consistency. For a deep and thick sauce, you will need less liquid. Keep on cooking schips for about 10 minutes, and don’t forget to stir constantly.
11. Add fresh garlic and hot pepper in the end.
12. Serve schips with bread, meat or with a side dish. Enjoy!
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