This week I spent some time in the kitchen! The inspiration was number 25 on my list as well as ongoing cravings for the delicious cuisine of Georgia. This particular dish is a bean stuffed bread that my husband and I used to feast on as we drove all over his lovely country in our 1983 Lada (why can’t my cars last this long?). Lobiani, this bean bread, is available absolutely everywhere and makes a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Hence, perfect road trip food!
Since I was last in Georgia in July 2011, it has been awhile since I enjoyed Georgian cuisine. I never have been an in-the-kitchen type of girl until I moved to Georgia. It was there that I was forced to cook if I wanted the things I craved (such as any western food as the local versions of western food left a bit to be desired). Dishes that I took for granted and that would intimidate any non-cook were things that I managed to make from scratch: gnocci, tortillas, burgers, sauces, cakes, and more. Now, here at home, it is time to master some of my favourite Georgian dishes (or at least one). First up, as I mentioned, is lobiani.
Not having had an opportunity to shadow my mother-in-law in her Georgian kitchen, I had to find a recipe online. Next time in Georgia, I will definitely spend some time with my new mom in the kitchen. But this week, I just dropped by the grocery store to pick up some basic supplies. Then, I got cooking! The dough was easy to make and smelled delicious but the stuffing was more of a challenge since I had to mash the beans up by hand. I stuffed the dough and rolled it out in the manner that is required (you cannot use a rolling pin here!). Then, it was ready to bake!
My very first attempt was my best in terms of the bread. Unfortunately, I underestimated how much stuffing the loaf could handle and was a bit short. For one portion, I used a cheese mixture (an attempt at another Georgian dish called khatchapuri!) and it turned out surprisingly well. So-I am on the road to mastering two Georgian dishes (not just the one I aspired towards). Once hot out of the oven, I served slices of the loaves to the authentic Georgian in my life and he said they were better than Georgia! I know this is not true (no matter how much he may be missing home and having delusions even he knows that but it was sweet of him!). I had a slice or two and saved the rest for next day’s breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner!
Lessons learned include: real Georgians must use way more butter to obtain the deliciousness required, the stuffing should be seasoned to my taste and tasted before used, no need to roll out the dough thin even though it seemed like a good idea, and it was surprisingly quick and easy! Definitely something I will be repeating and something that brings both of us a bit closer to Saqartvelo!