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Kharcho Soup (Georgian Beef Soup)

Course Main Course
Cuisine Georgian
Keyword Georgian Beef Stew, Kharcho,
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg beef chuck (or beef stew equivalent)
  • 2 medium white onions diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced or grated
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp tkemali see notes for sub
  • 1 tbsp khmeli - suneli see notes for sub
  • 1 tbsp salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 diced chili pepper (serrano or equivalent)
  • Additional cilantro, parsley and chili pepper for garnish


  • Cut beef into 1 inch cubes, trim fat if desired and season generously with salt and black pepper, brown in large stew pot for 5 - 10 minutes until lightly browned on all sides
  • Add 9 cups of water to beef cubes. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook on low 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  • Add diced onion, garlic, rice, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and khmeli-suneli. Cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender.
  • Add tkemali sauce, diced chili and chopped parsley and cilantro. Cook on low for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro, parsley and chili pepper.


If you aren't in the Caucasus region, tkemali and khmeli suneli can be hard to come by - substitute with these:
Tkemali: Use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or a generous squeeze of half a lemon in its place.
Khmeli-Suneli: make your own spice blend by grinding equal parts blue fenugreek, savory, dried dill, dried cilantro with a generous pinch of black pepper and two bay leaves. Alternatively, you can use blue fenugreek by itself.
Traditionally, kharcho beef is boiled without being browned first. I prefer the texture of it being browned for a few minutes first. It adds a nice body to the broth and is just my preference. I also trim the fat. You can bypass both of these steps if you like fatty, soft beef! Both options are delicious.