June 7, 2010

You’re not eating enough Georgian food

I was introduced to Georgian food on a trip to Moscow, and ever since I’ve been marveling that there isn’t a Georgian restaurant in every city in America. (Maybe it’s the confusion between the Republic of Georgia and the land of peach cobbler?)

“Georgian cuisine uses … walnut, aromatic herbs, garlic, vinegar, red pepper, pomegranate grains, barberries and other spices combined with the traditional secrets of the chef’s art … which make Georgian cuisine very popular and unique.”

Or, as Eli puts it, ”What are we going to do with all these walnuts?”

So we’ve got to make do at home. Start with khachapuri (cheese bread, recipe below); the lamb in pomegranate marinade is tasty and not too exotic, and I like the equally accessible potatoes with walnuts.

You’ll find most of the ingredients familiar and readily available; it’s the proportions and combinations that are unusual. Lots of herbs, lots of flavor, lots of happiness.

I studied this khachapuri video carefullly, and translated it to my American kitchen with great success.

Dough:

2 cups yogurt (matsoni = Bulgarian yogurt = I used plain “regular” yogurt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 eggs
4 oz butter
3 cups of flour

Filling:

2 lbs cheese (I found the traditional sulguni/suluguni, but have seen half-feta, half-mozzarella suggested as a substitute)
2 eggs
4 oz butter

I let the dough rise for two hours in a warming drawer. Split it in two and and shaped and filled as shown; brushed with egg and milk wash and sprinkled with salt, baked at 400 F on a buttered tray until golden brown. (I had only purchased 1 lb of cheese, so I made half the filling and it was still wonderful.)

I meant to include a photo, but we ate it all. It looked like this, and can look like these.

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