Lunch a la Georgiana

In the anticipation of the next KinoVino gathering dedicated one of the world’s gastronomic gems, I have been craving all things Georgian. Knowing I could not wait till the end of April, I decided to create a little lunch featuring two of my all-time favourite dishes – lobio and khachapuri (a.k.a a bean stew and cheese bread). The abundance of herbs, spices and walnuts makes my head spin and their taste and scent make me genuinely happy. So here I share my (adapted) recipes, and I strongly recommend that you come to taste these dishes and much much more at the end of April.

Lobio (my version)
makes 2 portions

500 gr kidney beans (for a quick version use tinned, for a propper authentic version go the full way with soaking and boiling dry beans)
1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 large tomato
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1-2 tsp of adjika paste
200 gr chopped walnuts
large bunch of fresh coriander
1 tsp of ground coriander
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds/or ground powder
olive oil
Maldon salt

Heat a frying pan and try roast the spices (coriander and fenugreek). Add olive oil and thinly sliced onion (feathers), sprinkle with salt and fry for about 5 minutes. Things will start to smell amazing by this point. Add thinly sliced garlic and chopped tomatoes and cook for further 5 minutes. Add tomato and adjika paste, mix well, and throw in the beans. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add walnuts and fresh coriander, take off the heat, mix well and let it sit for a bit for all the flavours to infuse. Serve with an extra sprinkle of walnuts and coriander. A sprinkle of feta does not go a miss, though this deviates even further from the authentic recipe. But, if you are having this dish with khachapuri, you will get your feta kick there.

Khachapuri
makes two

For the dough:
500 gr white flour
150 ml water or milk
1 egg
1tsp yeast
1 tsp suger
1 tsp salt

For the filling
1 pack of feta cheese
1/2 pack of halloumi cheese
1 egg
1 bunch of tarragon (optional, but highly recommended)

To make the dough:
Warm the water/milk and dissolve the yeast and sugar. Leave for 10 minutes so things get bubbly.
Put the flour in a large bowl, make a well in the middle. Add the egg and the yeast water, and mix well until the dough forms into a soft ball. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 2 hours. Come back to your dough to find that it’s about to spill out of the bowl. Just before your take it out of the bowl, prepare your filling.

Grate halloumi into a bowl. Add crumbled feta, one egg and a bunch of chopped tarragon. Mix well. This mixture is extremely salty and flavoursome, so there is no need to add anything else.

Tip your dough on a clean floured surface. Divide into two parts.
Keep adding more flour as the dough is quite sticky and gently knead for about 3 minutes. Flatten the dough out to make an even crêpe, place the mixture in the middle, then close all the edge to form a sack. Gently turn it around, so the sealed edges are now at the bottom, and carefully flatten the bread using a rolling pin.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with a generous amount of melted butter and serve while the filling is super hot!
Lobio and khachapuri is a match made in heaven!

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