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GEORGIA ON MY MIND…..

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 February 2018 at 11:59
My very first thought, when reading about pelni, was their resemblance to pierogi.

That part of the world is surrounded with similar dumplings, so it might just be a natural offshoot. Besides which, they're a lot easier to shape than khinkali.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 February 2018 at 16:03

Georgia, Far Eastern Europe,  if not mistaken is not very far from the Ancient Spice Route and may have been a part of it ( have to research this )  and not too far from  the countries of  Turkey and Greece, revealed by the spices employed in several of the dishes above  ..

A fascinating group of récipes and shall definitely prepare one  the chicken dishes ..

Thank you so much for posting this gold mine of gastronomic  wonders ..  



 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 February 2018 at 18:57
Margi,

Georgia is located at the crossroads of the old Spice- and Silk-Roads. Which is one of the primary reasons for the constant invasions and occupations.

About half the size of Georgia, in the U.S., it is framed by the Black and Caspian Seas, and surrounded by Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaidzhan.

The ancient Greeks knew it as Cochis, the site of the Jason & the Golden Fleece tales, which are based on fact, as they used to actually strain gold from the streams by suspending sheep fleeces.

It's also the location where Prometheus gifted mankind with fire. One result of which is that Georgians were, and remain, fond of grilled foods.

Georgia claims to be (and archeological evidence supports the claim) the oldest wine making region in the world.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 February 2018 at 19:04
Update on source material:

Since starting this thread, Ron (thanks, again, my friend) sent me a copy of the Foods of the World volume on Russian Cooking. There are some great insights in the Georgian and Caucasus sections, though the recipes, as is so true of that series, are on the questionable side.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 February 2018 at 19:06
Margi: Hold off a bit on the chicken. Although Satsivi is certainly a great dish, Georgians do all sorts of wonderful things with poultry, and I'll be posted several chicken recipes as we continue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 10:23
There’s one more iconic Georgian flavoring that I haven’t discussed: Tkemali, which is a sour plum sauce used in numerous dishes throughout the country.

Not the sort of thing you’re likely to find in your neighborhood grocery, Tkemali is available on-line. But it tends to be pricy, to begin with. And the shipping is almost as much as the product itself.

A little research reveals recipes for making your own. But, because the sour plums used in Georgia are not available, they usually start by saying, take X amount of under-ripe plums, preferably Y variety.” Uh, huh! Even during the season, what are the odds of you finding under-ripe plums in your market? And how would you tell?

Then comes the Foods of the World volume on Russian Cooking (thanks, again, Ron). As many of you know, I am not, in general, a fan of FotW recipes. They tend to be dated, to say the least, and often use substitutions that were far from accurate and no longer necessary. Even worse, they totally substitute one thing for another in the interests of Americanizing the flavors, or because the writer didn’t truly understand the dish, or just because the author liked it that way.

Tkemali is an example of the kinds of errors that can creep in. In the text, author George Papashvily does, indeed, discuss Tkemali as a sour plum sauce. However, in the recipes, he calls it “sour prune sauce,” which could be a totally different thing.

Now, then, there are prunes and there are prunes. To his everlasting credit, Papashvily specifies sour prunes in the ingredients list. Still not something you’ll find on everyday grocery shelves. But, they are available in Mid-Eastern and Asian markets (sometimes called “Turkish prunes”) and on line. Reconstituting them, in the manner he suggests, produces a sauce as close to true Tkemali as you’re likely to get.

So, I stand corrected. At least in this case.

Here’s the recipe and instructions:

TKEMALI
(Georgian Sour Plum Sauce)


2 cups water
½ lb sour prunes
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbls cilantro, minced
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 tbls strained fresh lemon juice

Bring the water to boil in a 1-quart saucepan and drop in the prunes. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Bring back to boil over high heat and cook briskly, uncovered, 10-15 minutes, or until prunes are tender. Pour contents into a sieve set over a bowl and set liquid aside.

Cut out and discard prune pits and combine the prunes, garlic, and cilantro in a blender. Pour in ¼ cup of the prune liquid. The blended sauce should have the consistency of sour cream.

Transfer sauce to a 1 ½ -2 quart saucepan and stir in the salt and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat, then, off the heat, stir in the lemon juice.

Cool to room temperature.

Notes: If you haven’t worked with them before, be aware that sour prunes can have multiple pits. I found that out, to my dismay, the first time I used them in a tajine. So make sure you remove all of them.

I have to wonder if Mr. Papashvily likes washing dishes. This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups, and there is no reason I can see to dirty two different saucepans. Similarly, you can just scoop the poached prunes out of the pan with a slotted spoon and not have to dirty a sieve (which are always the hardest things to clean, anyway).

Given the time the book was written, I can understand why he says to mince the cilantro first. Blenders, back then, tended to be slow, and not powerful enough to handle certain items. If you have a more modern, high-speed blender---like, say, a Vitamix---pre-chopping isn’t necessary. But it certainly doesn’t hurt.

It’s said that Tkemali will keep for months in the fridge. But, frankly, it probably won’t last near that long, once you taste it.

Here is one way Tkemali is used in Georgian cuisine:

LOBIO TKEMALI
(Georgian Kidney Beans with Plum Sauce)


½ lb dried kidney beans
½ tsp salt
½ cup tkemali
Salt
Black Pepper
Cilantro

Soak the beans overnight in water to cover. The next day, drain and rinse them. Place in a large pot and cover with fresh water. Add ½ tsp salt. Bring the water to a boil and simmer until the beans are tender, 60-90 minutes. Drain. While the beans are still warm, mash them. Stir in the tkemali and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature, garnished with cilantro.

Tkemali is also the sauce most often used with Tabaka, the classic Georgian flattened chicken dish, similar to our bricked chicken; with root veggies, like beets; in stews like chakapuli; and even to baste kebabs.

Putting Georgian cuisine aside, I’m looking forward to using it on my next batch of pork ribs. It’s that good!


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