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GEORGIA ON MY MIND…..

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Printed Date: 11 August 2020 at 04:01


Topic: GEORGIA ON MY MIND…..
Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Subject: GEORGIA ON MY MIND…..
Date Posted: 30 January 2018 at 09:49

…..No, not the Georgia whose epicenter is Atlanta. Rather, the Georgia whose epicenter is a culinary tradition going back nearly 10,000 years.

No kidding! Although there have been some influences from invading forces, and adoption of new ingredients and flavors, what Georgians eat, and the way they serve it, almost by design, has remained virtually unchanged for close to ten millennia. Indeed, a case can be made that Georgia’s national identity is based on its cuisine. Despite thousands of years of constant invasion and occupation, Georgians remain Georgians. Their cuisine has much to do with that.

Even its creation myths are based on its fascination with food, and the ways it is served. For instance, one of the more popular legends tells about the first Georgians seated around a table laden with food and wine. They were so involved feasting on various dishes, drinking glass after glass of wine, and making toasts, that they missed God’s deadline for choosing a place to live, and the world was divided among peoples, with the proto-Georgians excluded. His job complete, God sets off for home, only to find the soon-to-be Georgians still feasting, and toasting, and singing.

God reproaches them, but the toastmaster isn’t concerned that they have no place to live. They have, after all, spent their time productively, thanking God, via intricate toasts, for the magnificent world he has created. Pleased that they have honored him in that way, he rewards them with the last piece of earth, the one he’d been reserving for himself.

And so it was that Georgians came to live in paradise.
As we shall see, formal dinners, such as the one in this myth, remain an integral part of Georgia’s culinary affairs.
Lying at the crossroads of the ancient spice- and silk-roads, and blessed with vast natural resources and a clement growing climate, Georgia---the meeting point of East and West---was a natural target for invaders. Greeks, and Romans, and Persians, and Mongols, and Ottomans, and Russians---and just about everyone else---swept through, time after time.

I won’t recap the eight thousand year history of these invasions. But to show how constant it was, between the sixth and nineteenth centuries, the city of Thilis, capital of eastern Georgia, was sacked 40 times.

Despite all the influences this brought, Georgia maintained its own culinary identity. As Darra Goldstein puts it, in her seminal The Georgia Feast, “…..their cooking represents more than a mélange of the flavors of other regions. Georgian cuisine stands distinct among the foods of the world, a vibrant, inspired interpretation of indigenous ingredients.”

Those who know me know there are several culinary terms than set my teeth on age. Leading the list is the word “fusion.” Too often, all that means is combining a mediocre Latin dish with Japanese or Korean ingredients, to produce something totally unnoteworthy.

“A case can be made,” I’ve said in the past, “that all cuisines are fusions. That they reflect the end result of outside influences and indigenous ingredients and methods, combining to form a unified, and evolving, whole.”

Georgian cuisine might just be the one to prove me wrong. Even when it does adapt outside influences, it does so in its own way. For example, from Persia comes the idea of mixing fruit with meat. But, whereas the Persians preferred sweeter fruits, such as prunes and apricots, Georgians, who are very big on tart flavors, opt for pomegranates and sour plums. Note, too, that the grains of choice in Georgia remain wheat and corn, over the rice that so influenced Persia’s other neighbors.

If you had to sum it up, Georgia’s cuisine can be described as walnut-centric. Walnuts are used in everything from sauces to stews. Indeed, the origins of Turkey’s iconic Circassian Chicken can be traced to Georgia, where Satsivi (turkey with walnut sauce) is, in all but name, the national dish.

The Ottoman’s, being what they were, put a romantic twist on the source of Circassian Chicken. According to the Turkish legend, the dish was brought to Turkey with the beautiful, soft-skinned women imported into the royal harems.

In fact, the dish was probably introduced as a result of the Ottoman slave trade; a much downplayed part of their rule.

Walnuts, alone, are only part of the story that makes Georgian cuisine unique. There’s a long list of ingredients rarely used in other cuisines, or non-existent outside Georgia. Among them:

     -Marigold. Sometimes called Georgian Saffron, the petals of marigold flowers are dried and ground. There is some confusion about this, among authors. One source says French Marigold, which is the common garden flower. Another says Pot Marigold, which would be calendula. Either works. I use calendula, for no other reason than I always have it on hand for medicinal purposes.

     -Summer Savory. Although used in other cuisines, I don’t know of another in which summer savory plays such an important role. It is used constantly, both as an individual ingredient and as part of special spice mixes. Both fresh and dried savory are about equally important.

     -Blue fenugreek. This is a plant found only in Georgia. Related to true fenugreek, its flavor is much milder. True fenugreek can be substituted, but in smaller amounts.

     -Khmeli-Suneli. Khmeli-Suneli is to Georgian cooking as Ras el Hanout is to Moroccan. It’s a blend of herbs and spices used in many Georgian dishes. Most housewives blend their own, varying the proportions based on the dish being prepared. Sometimes referred to as Georgian five-spice powder, that’s a misnomer, because it always contains far more ingredients than that.
     The commercial jar of it I bought on-line, for instance, contains: coriander, fenugreek, paprika, fennel, dill, parsley, marigold, savory basil, marjoram, black pepper, hyssop, and thyme.

Here is Dara Goldstein’s recipe, if you’d like to make your own:

KHMELI-SUNELI
(Georgian Spice Mix)


2 tsp ground coriander seed
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried dill weed
2 tsp dried summer savory
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 tsp ground marigold
1 bay leaf, crushed

In a mortar with a pestle, pound the spices together to a fine powder. Store airtight.

     -Svanuri Salt. Throughout Georgia, various flavored salt mixes are used. Svanuri Salt, from the mountainous region, is one that achieved national status, and is available everywhere. It, too, is essentially a blend of herbs and spices, with a salt element.

     -Dairy. Georgian has a range of products, including yogurt and various cheeses, unique to its cuisine. Unfortunately, exporting them to the U.S. and EU is illegal. There are substitutions, of course. But whether or not the dish tastes the same is open to question.
     This is particularly true about the one Georgian dish to achieve global acclaim; its famous Cheese Bread. This is made with a cheese called Suluguni. We’ll see, at the appropriate time, how to approximate it.

     -Wine. Georgia claims---and archeological evidence supports that claim---to be the oldest wine-making region in the world. Its approach to wine-making---which dates back at least 8,000 years---is unlike any other. We’ll talk about that, too, at a later time.

One other aspect of Georgian cuisine to be aware of is its dedication to fresh herbs. More than 100 edible greens are known to grow in the country, and Georgians relish all of them; not only to cook with, but for eating out of hand. On any Georgian table there will be bowls of fresh herbs that diners pick up and devour at will.

Given its iconic status, it just makes sense to introduce Georgian food with Satsivi.

SATSIVI
(Georgian Turkey in Walnut Sauce)


1 cup walnut pieces     
4-5 med garlic cloves     
½ cup packed coriander leaves     
1 dried red chili in pieces
¾ tsp salt     
1 tsp olive oil          
1 ½ cups onion, finely chopped     
1 ½ tsp flour
2 ½ cups turkey or chicken stock     
1 ½ tsp Georgia spice blend
¼ tsp turmeric     
Pinch cinnamon
1 tbls red wine vinegar     
3 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken

For sauce: Combine the walnuts, garlic, coriander, chili, and ½ teaspoon salt in a large mortar and pound until a smooth paste has formed. Or process in a food processor to a paste. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil, and sauté the onions over medium heat, stirring constantly, until translucent and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in the flour, and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Gradually add the stock, stirring to blend. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Add the walnut paste and stir to blend well. Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the spice mix, cinnamon and turmeric. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vinegar and remaining ½ teaspoon salt.

Place the turkey in a large, shallow serving bowl. Pour the sauce over and mix well. Let stand 30 minutes before serving so flavors blend. This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds and coriander or mint leaves as desired.












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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket



Replies:
Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 30 January 2018 at 10:25
A very nice introduction, Brook - some history, a run-down through various foodways and iconic flavor profiles, a recipe representing a treasured national dish - and a few cliffhangers, as well!

A question about the Satsivi: are turkeys a native bird to the region, or are they an example of an introduction from outside that was taken in and adapted so well to Georgia? I always think of the turkey as an American bird, but it turns up so often in other cuisines that I've decided my perception must be erroneous.

Great job, and I am looking forward to more.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 30 January 2018 at 11:31
Far as I know, Ron, turkey, as we think of them, are an American bird.

As with so many New World species, they were introduced to Europe in the 1500s, and were quickly assimilated into local cuisines.

Supposedly, American turkey reminded early settlers of a European bird. Mebbe so. But the only one I know of even near that large is the capacalli---a Scandinavian bird in the grouse family that can go 15-20 pounds.

If there are others I'd sure like to hear about them.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 30 January 2018 at 11:34
OK, I did some checking. All sources identify turkey as a large, North American bird that has been domesticated throughout most of the world.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 30 January 2018 at 11:41
That makes sense - they adapt very easily to various environments and probably spread to many corners.

Most of the other ingredients in Satsivi (except the red chili, from what I can see) are either native to Georgia or - in the case of many spices - have been there for so long as to consider them "indigenous enough." This makes me wonder: which came first? The chicken or the turkey? By that, I mean: was this a dish that developed long ago with chicken, and then adapted over to the turkey, or was it a dish that developed after the turkey established itself?

I don't know, and in truth it probably doesn't matter too much - just one of those threads that sometimes get picked up in research....

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 February 2018 at 08:48
Don't know which came first, Ron. Probably impossible to tell.

Satsivi is made with chicken, as well as turkey, though. So it's probably an academic question at best.

Chicken satsivi is all but indistinguishable from Circassian chicken; lending even more credence to Georgia being the origination.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: Tom Kurth
Date Posted: 04 February 2018 at 18:11
Some little thing in the back of my mind says that the American turkey was named after some other large bird from the country of Turkey because of a resemblance between the two. Have to look for an origin story there.  

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Best,
Tom

Escape to Missouri


Posted By: Tom Kurth
Date Posted: 04 February 2018 at 18:15
Yeah, did a quick search. The turkey was named for the Turkey bird, otherwise known as Guinea fowl. So perhaps the original recipe was Circassian Guinea. 

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Best,
Tom

Escape to Missouri


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 05 February 2018 at 08:34
Thanks, Tom.

I knew it was something like that. Just couldn't remember the details.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 05 February 2018 at 13:30
As I did my research, I was surprised at how much Georgian cuisine resonated with me. Not the specific dishes, so much---although they are fantastic. Of the 20 or so dishes we’ve made so far, only one was less than spectacular.

No, the reason for its appeal, I quickly realized, was that Georgian hospitality is, on many levels, similar to 18th century Virginian hospitality, which is, of course, my ultimate culinary love.

In both cases, hospitality is the watchword. In colonial Virginia, for instance, you could knock on any door, be it a plantation manner house or a ramshackle cabin in the boondocks, and be welcome for a night or a year. This was so true that all through the civilized world, in the 18th century, the words “Virginia,” and “hospitality” were synonyms.

In Georgia, throughout its history, a guest is considered to be a gift from God. Hospitality is next to Godliness, and failure to honor a guest is a serious transgression of the moral code. Indeed, a Georgian saying has it that “the sun rises on the home visited by a guest. And when the guest leaves, the sun sets on his host.”

There are great parallels, too, between Georgian and Virginian service. For starters, there are no courses, per se. Instead, the entire contents of a meal are laid out on the table. Naturally, there are subtle differences. In Virginia (indeed, all of the British world), the food was laid out on separate tables, and diners helped themselves in the manner of a buffet. In England, and upscale taverns in America, there would typically be three tables, with an average of 11 dishes each. After the first table was finished, the table would be cleared, fresh linen set, and a range of new dishes brought out.

In Virginia, two tables were more common. But there would be as many as 25 dishes on each setting, with protocols determining the types of food presented; particularly the proteins.

In Georgia, the initial table is prepared before diners sit down. This would be mostly cold- and room-temperature dishes, and service is more home style, with one notable exception. Place settings are small plates, and a diners help themselves to what amounts to tastings of anything that appeals. If more of that dish is wanted, another small serving is taken. There is no piling up of food.

Now comes the big difference between Virginia/British service and Georgian. When the host decides that everyone is ready, new dishes are brought out. The old dishes are not removed, however. Instead, the food they contain is replenished. By the time the meal is over, the table is covered with plates and serving dishes, chock-a-block to each other, and overlapping, and even piled off-set, one atop another.

The ultimate in this is the formal feast called a Supra, which can go on for hours. There is much eating, of course. But drinking is an integral part of this, too. Supras are led by a toastmaster, called a “tamada,” who guides the whole dinner.

The tamada offers numerous and intricate toasts, during the affair, each of which is accompanied by a glass of wine. But part of his responsibility is to assure there is no drunkenness, so the ability to pace the progression of the dinner, and, hence, the number and frequency of the toasts, is important.

In addition to eating and drinking, Supras include entertainment of various and sundry kinds, including musical interludes, dancing, singing, poetry recitals, and so forth.

Harken back to the creation myth discussed above, and you can see the antecedents of the Supra.

My common approach, with themed meals and primers, is to create menus that provide a broad-based look at the cuisine in question. Obviously, given the nature of Georgian service, that won’t work. Instead, I’ll be grouping dishes by type. Anyone so inclined can then pick and choose from them, and create their own Georgian feast.

I’m going to forego my usual practice of putting my sources at the end of the thread. Instead, I’ll list them here, at the beginning. Again, this is so others can use them, if desired, to gain a deeper understanding of this unique cuisine.

My actual introduction to Georgian cuisine took place several years ago, when I first obtained a copy of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s book, Flatbreads & Flavors. Among the many great recipes was one for the leek pate’ Prasi Pkhali. Pkhali (variously translated as pate’, puree, and spread), the authors point out, are a traditional vegetable dish, and indicated they appear on Georgian tables in many forms. We tried it, and really enjoyed it. And I vowed to look more deeply into them.

Life gets in the way, of course, and researching Georgian cuisine took a back seat to other projects. But it remained on my to-do list.

Flatbreads & Flavors,, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, William Morrow and Co. (an imprint of HarperCollins), New York, 1995.

In the early 1990s, Darra Goldstein published a masterful book that did for Georgian cuisine what Paula Wolfert had done for Moroccan. Sadly, at the time, it didn’t get the attention it deserved. But it remains the seminal work on “the vibrant culture and savory food of the Republic of Georgia:”

The Georgian Feast,, Darra Goldstein, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1993.

Also in the early ‘90s, Julianne Margvelashvili, a Canadian expat married to the Georgian Director of Foreign Relations, published the result of her researches into Georgian cuisine and folklore that she’d been conducting since the mid-1980s:

The Classic Cuisine of Soviet Georgia, Prentis Hall, New York, 1991.

More recently comes food journalist Carla Capalbo’s gorgeous volume about Georgia. More a travelogue with recipes than a cookbook, and lavishly illustrated, it provides insights and information I’ve not found elsewhere:

Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus, Carla Capalbo, Interlink Publishing, Northampton, Ma., 2017.
In June of this year, Supra will be published. This is a book that explores the concept of Georgian feasting. I’ve used excerpts from the book in my exploration of Georgian cuisine, and hope to obtain a copy when it comes out:

Supra: A Feast of Georgian Cooking, Tiko Tuskadze, Pavilion Publishing, Hove, GB, 2018,

As usual, the web has been a treasure trove of information, and I’ve made extensive use of it.




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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 05 February 2018 at 13:46
My knowledge is still rather sparse, but one thing that struck me is just how OLD this region is, anthropologically speaking; I find myelf wondering if Georgia, and the Caucasus region in general, is a time capsule of humanity, due to the combination of its placement in human migration and its isolation

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 07 February 2018 at 11:39
As noted above, my introduction to Georgian food was via the Leek Pate’ recipe found in Flatbreads & Flavors. As it turns out, vegetable pate’s are an integral part of Georgian cuisine. Several of them will be found on most Georgian tables, in fact.

Technically called “Mkhuli,” they are universally referred to by the more colloquial name “Pkhali.” And, if that isn’t confusing enough, “Pkhali” translates, variously, as “pate’,” “puree,” “Spread,” and, probably, other, similar names. For simplicity, I’ll refer to them as pate’s.

Pkhali, as a class, are single-vegetable dishes. While each of them is seasoned using herbs, spices, and aromatics that complement the specific vegetable, or which appeal to the cook’s sensibilities, they have several things in common. Walnuts, it should go without saying, are must-have ingredient, as is garlic. Coriander, in either the fresh or ground version, is almost always included as well.

I fell in love with these vegetable pate’s. They can be used as an appetizer or first course, or as a side-dish. The thinner ones can even serve as a dip. And, so far, each of the ones I’ve made has been a real winner.

Pkhali are always served cold or at room temperature.

It Georgia, every housewife keeps a walnut sauce as a staple. Called Nigozis da Nivris Ajika---or just “Ajika” for short---it contains those basic ingredients along with other seasonings that pique the cook’s fancy. The following recipes assume you don’t keep Ajika on hand, so include the component parts.

If you want to go with the sauce, instead, here’s one version, adapted from “The Classic Cuisine of Soviet Georgia:”

NIGOZIS DA NIVRIS AJIKA
(Georgian Walnut-Garlic Paste)


4 cups walnuts
6 cloves garlic
2 tbls dried coriander
4 tsp powdered marigold petals
1 tsp salt

Put the walnuts and garlic in a food processor, in stages, to ensure the ingredients are well ground. (Or use a mortar & pestle, which is how Georgian housewives would do it) Turn into a bowl and mix the dried herbs and salt into the walnut-garlic mix. Your hands are the best tool for this, by the way. Store in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator.

Another version of walnut sauce, called Bazhe, can be used in the pate’s as well. Bazhe is made in very simple versions, and more complex ones as well. Considered to be a universal sauce, it is used with veggies, meats, poultry, and even fish. Here, again, the cook will vary it depending on use.

Bazhe is an actual sauce, rather than the thick condiment of Ajika. If you use it to make Pkhali it will thin it down, and you might have to adjust for that. The following is a more complex version, adapted from “Tasting Georgia:”

BAZHE
(Georgian Walnut-Garlic Sauce)


1 cup walnut halves
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 ½ tsp ground marigold petals
½ tsp ground fenugreek
Pinch red pepper flakes or ½ tsp hot paprika
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar
¾ cup water

Place the walnuts, garlic and dried spices in a food processor (or pound them using a mortar and pestle). When the walnuts are evenly ground, add the remaining sauce ingredients and process to a fine sauce. If you prefer it thinner, add more water. Taste to correct seasoning and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before using.

Being as my first attempt at a Pkhali was the leek version, that’s a good place to start.

There is one problem with the recipe, as found in Flatbreads & Flavors. The instructions say to pound the leeks, along with other ingredients, in a large mortar. Even when cooked down, however, a pound of leeks is a lot, in terms of volume. I don’t know anyone with a large enough mortar to do the job.

My first attempt I used a food processor instead. This results in a very puree-like product, more of a dip than anything else. So, ever since, I hand chop the leaks, which yields a better consistency, in my opinion:

PRASI PKHALI
(Georgian Leek Pate’)


4 medium leeks (about 1 pound)
1/3 cup walnut pieces
¼ tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp toasted coriander seed
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbls finely chopped cilantro
1 tbls finely chopped parsley
1 tbls finely chopped mint
1 tbls fresh lemon juice

Quarter leeks lengthwise, cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices, rinse well in cold water. Put several inches of water in a heavy saucepan, add the leeks cover, bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook until leeks are tender, about 10 minutes.

In a large mortar, pound or grind the walnuts, salt, coriander seed, garlic, and red pepper to a paste. Add the leeks, fresh herbs, and lemon juice and pound to blend well. If mixture seems dry and crumbly, blend in 1-2 tablespoons of the leek cooking water.

Transfer to a small, lightly oiled bowl, and pack in well. Refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight, well covered with plastic wrap, and let firm up. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

My younger son, who is visiting us, raved about this next Pkhali. What makes that special is that he otherwise will not eat beets in any shape or form. “They taste like dirt,” he insists. But that should give you a clue how really tasty this dish is.

You can boil the beets, if you like. But both the flavor and texture is truly better if you roast them:

CHARKHLIS PKHALI
(Georgian Beet Pate’)


1 lb beets
½ cup walnuts
3 garlic cloves     
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped parsley
Black pepper to taste
¼ tsp dried summer savory
¼ tsp ground coriander seed
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar

Bake the unpeeled beets at 375F for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until tender. While the beets are cooking, grind together the walnuts, garlic, and salt. Add the cilantro and parsley and continue grinding to make a fine paste. Transfer to a bowl.

Peel the cooked beets and finely grate them in a food processor or by hand. In a medium bowl, mix together the beets and walnut mixture, then stir in the rest of ingredients, tasting often, as the amount of vinegar will depend on the sweetness of the beets. The pate’ should be slightly tart.

Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours, but bring to room temperature before serving, mounded on a plate and cross-hatched on top with a knife.

MITSVANE LOBIOS MKHALI
(Georgian Green Bean Pate’)


1 lb green beans
½ cup walnuts
2 garlic cloves
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped parsley
1 tbls chopped fresh dill
1 tbls red wine vinegar

Trim the beans and cook them in boiling water until very soft. Drain.

Grind the walnuts in a food processor. Briefly process them with the garlic and herbs. Add the beans and process to make a thick puree. Stir in the vinegar and cool to room temperature before serving.

Both the beet and green bean versions will be denser than the leek one; more like a mash in texture. But still not what I would call a pate’. This next one however, is as close to being a pate’ as you can get:

ISPANAKHI PKHALI
(Georgian Spinach Pate’)


2 lbs spinach, washed
¾ cup walnuts
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground coriander
Small onion, finely chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped fine
Salt and vinegar to taste
½ tsp hot paprika (optional)
Pomegranate seeds

Put spinach in a large pot, pour in 3-4 cups boiling water, cover tightly, and boil 3-4 minutes until leaves are wilted and stems tender. Drain, cool, and gently squeeze out the water. Put the walnuts, garlic and coriander into a food processor and grind to a fine paste.

Place the spinach on a cutting board and finely chop it. Put it into a mixing bowl with the onion, cilantro and walnut paste. Blend the ingredients together, using your fingertips. Add salt, vinegar and paprika if desired.

Let stand at room temperature for an hour, then refrigerate in a covered container. Serve on an 8-inch plate, flattened into a thick pancake. Crosshatch evenly to create a grid design, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds before serving.

Georgians really love their greens, and there are many variations of this Pkhali---including those made with beet greens, radish greens, and even cauliflower leaves. Contrary to the directions in this recipe, most of the time greens are first washed, then cooked only in the water left adhering to the leaves.








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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 07 February 2018 at 16:03
Brook - these all look great, and that walnut-garlic paste would have to knock anything out of the park. I've worked with a hazelnut-garlic sauce before, and this would have to be even better, I am guessing.

Question - do you see any similarity at all between these pates and Ikra, which is more associated with Russia, Ukraine and some of the countries heading down into the Balkans?

To clarify, there are two kinds of "Ikra" that I know about - one is related to caviar, but the other is made from eggplant (or sometimes other vegetables) as a sort of "poor man's caviar."

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 08 February 2018 at 06:12
Although some of them include aromatics, the hallmark of Pkhali is that they are each based on a single veggie.

Ikra recipes I've seen include aromatics and other vegetables in addition to the eggplant. So, while Ikra fits the general category of vegetable pate', I don't believe there is any direct culinary connection.

There is, however, a similar Turkish dish that varies only in the veggies that support the eggplant.

Just another case where the Georgians did it their way, despite the closeness of their neighbors.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: pitrow
Date Posted: 08 February 2018 at 10:20
I really need to set aside some time to read this thread, I've only had time to skim it a little and it seems very interesting to me. this is more of a note for myself than anythign I guess. 

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Mike
http://lifeinpitrow.blogspot.com/" rel="nofollow - Life in PitRow - My often neglected, somewhat eccentric, occasionally outstanding blog


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 09 February 2018 at 09:08
Only reason I'm writing it, Mike, is to give you something to do with the Khmeli-Suneli and Svanuri Salt I'd sent ya.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 09 February 2018 at 09:18
>>>Khmeli-Suneli and Svanuri Salt<<<

I haven't yet tried mine with any cooking, as I am saving them for a project that I have in mind; however, both smell absolutely amazing, not quite like anything I've ever encountered!

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Posted By: pitrow
Date Posted: 09 February 2018 at 11:03
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

Only reason I'm writing it, Mike, is to give you something to do with the Khmeli-Suneli and Svanuri Salt I'd sent ya.


I know, and not being able to is killing me! I have some free time this morning.. going to start reading now. Smile

edit: ok, read the thread. Outstanding Brook.  If I can get to the store and pick up the couple items needed I might give the SATSIVI a go!


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Mike
http://lifeinpitrow.blogspot.com/" rel="nofollow - Life in PitRow - My often neglected, somewhat eccentric, occasionally outstanding blog


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 13 February 2018 at 05:15
If there’s one thing iconic to the Georgian table, it would be the filled dumplings called Khinkali.

Khinkali are generally believed to have been introduced to the mountainous regions of Georgia by the Mongols. This, in turn, raises an interesting question, though, as to the direction of travel. Meat-filled Khinkali produce a broth as they are cooked, very reminiscent of the Chinese soup dumplings. Some scholars believe, however, that they actually originated in Georgia, and were carried to China by the Mongols. This is a question, though, that probably can never be answered.

Most cultures have at least one filled dumpling as part of its cuisine. As with all things culinarian, Georgia has its own slant on them.

Khinkali start with a simple dough, which seems to be pretty universal. A spoonful of the filling---which can be meat, potato, cheese, greens, or a combination of them---is put in the center of a ring of dough, and the sides are brought up in a series of pleats, culminating with a twist that seals them, similar to a beggar’s purse, and creates a topknot.

Georgian grandmothers insist that anything fewer than 20 pleats is the sign of a beginner. Now, then, 20 pleats in a circle of dough measuring four inches sounds like a lot. But there is a fast learning curve. By the second batch, Friend Wife was up to 17 pleats. So forming the dumplings isn’t as difficult as it first seems.

Khinkali are rarely served with a sauce. Instead, they are laid out on a serving platter, sprinkled liberally with black pepper, and served. Diners pick up a dumpling by the topknot, invert it like a mushroom, and bite into the actually purse; sucking out any broth before eating the balance. The topknots usually are discarded, or fed to the dogs the way Southerners are said to have used hushpuppies. I have found no information as to why the topknots aren’t eaten.

There is at least one exception to the no-sauce rule. In southern Georgia they make smaller khinkali, filled with potato, cheese, or a combination of them, and top them with onions caramelized in butter.

If all of this sounds like Manti there’s good reason for it. Both Manti and Khinkali originated in the Caucasus Mountains, and are, likely, variations on the theme.

The procedure for making khinkali is the same, no matter where they are found. For “standard” sized dumplings, the dough is rolled out to about ¼-inch thickness. Circles about 2 ½ inches in diameter are cut from the dough (a cookie cutter works perfectly for this). Each circle is then rolled out to a diameter of about four inches.

Note: Most regular rolling pins are too big for this, and are awkward to use. For Friend Wife, I cut an eight-inch section of one-inch dowel rod, and it works perfectly.

If shaping khinkali is a bit much for you, there is a variation called Pelmeni. For these, circles of dough measuring 2 ½-3 inches are cut. A teaspoon or so of filling is laid on one half of the circle, which is then folded over. The edges are moistened and pressed together to seal these crescent-shaped dumplings. Pelmeni are often served with sour cream.

To cook either khinkali or pelmeni, bring a large pot of salted water to boil with two bay leaves. Add the dumplings, stirring gently to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook until they float to the surface and transfer to a serving platter. With most recipes, you’ll probably have to do this in batches.

Here’s the recipe for the universal khinkali dough:

KHINKALI DOUGH

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg at room temperature
½ cup water

Mix ingredients together to form a ball, adding more flour or water as necessary. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 4-5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover while you make the filling.

Follow directions above to shape the khinkali or pelmeni.

Filling recipes abound throughout Georgia. Here are a few of them. But feel free to vary them at will, maintaining the spirit of the idea. For instance, although one of these recipes calls for a mixture of lamb and pork, we’ve made it with just lamb. And loved it. Due to lamb’s lack of fat, however, it doesn’t form the broth of a soup dumpling:

BASIC MEAT FILLING

1 lb mixed ground beef and pork (not too lean---you want it to produce broth as it cooks)
½ tsp black pepper
1 ¼ tsp salt
Pinch cayenne
¼ tsp ground caraway seed
½ cup water or beef stock
3 small onions, minced
Mix the meats and spices. Stir in the onions. Working with your hands (which are the best tools for this) knead in the liquid.

COMPLEX MEAT FILLING

3 ½ oz ground beef
3 ½ oz ground pork
1/3 cup minced onion
2 tbls minced cilantro
1/4 tsp minced medium-hot chili (or sub red pepper flakes)
2 tbls butter, melted
½ cup water or meat broth
Black pepper to taste
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp ground summer savory
¼ tsp crushed coriander seeds
¼ tsp crushed caraway seeds
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, using your fingers to assure they are well blended and the meat evenly broken up.

LAMB FILLING

¾ lb ground lamb
¾ lb ground pork
3 small onions, minced
½ cup water
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together all the ingredients and let stand while making the dough.

CHEESE FILLING

1 pound farmers cheese
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground dried savory
Black pepper to taste
2 room temperature eggs, beaten

Press the cheese through a sieve into a bowl. Beat in the salt, savory, pepper, and eggs, mixing well.

POTATO & CHEESE FILLING

8 ounce boiled potato, skin on
2 tbls butter
1 cup grated cheddar
½ tsp salt

Once it’s cool enough to handle, peel the potato. Grate it coarsely using a hand-held grater. Stir in the remaining ingredients, being careful to not compact the mixture too much. If using cold potato, melt the butter first.







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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 13 February 2018 at 10:23
I really like the sound of these dumplings, Brook - any of those fillings, and more, would be welcome at my table.

>>>In southern Georgia they make smaller khinkali, filled with potato, cheese, or a combination of them, and top them with onions caramelized in butter.<<<

I'm not sure if there is a connection or not, but this is exactly what is done with potato-and-cheese filled pierogi. I learned this from a friend whose wife was half-Russian and half Polish, and they were very good this way:

http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/topic1946_post12189.html



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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date 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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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date 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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Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date 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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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date 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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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date 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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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 18 February 2018 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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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 20 February 2018 at 05:14
Bread is truly the staff of life in Georgia. There are, literally, dozens of shapes, sizes, and types found there. Many of them, in fact, are unique to a particular village, and are found nowhere else.

There is a reverence for bread, in Georgia, I’ve not uncovered anywhere else. So much so that the grain, itself, is handled in specific ways. In the rural mountains, for instance, wheat is kept in a special chest, which only the eldest woman in the family is allowed to open. Old-timers often add a lump of charcoal to the chest, to repel the devil.

Georgian breads run the gamut of crust & crumb, ranging from crisp, unleavened lavash-like forms, to sweet breads loaded with butter and eggs. And, while wheat is the primary grain used, there are areas, particularly in western Georgia, where corn all but displaces it.

Traditionally, bread was baked two ways in Georgia. Most common is a Tone’, a conical oven very reminiscent of the Indian tandoor oven. The two work the same way, using intense heat. Loaves are slapped on the sidewalls, where they bake in a matter of seconds, not unlike naan. However, given the nature of the dough, and the way it is put in the oven, the Georgian version tends to be elongated and blade shaped, and is, for that reason, known as Baton or Saber bread.

Long thought to be impossible to reproduce in a modern home oven, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid have developed a method of doing so, which we’ll explore later on.

The second baking method was to use a Ketsi. This is a shallow clay plate, and was used to bake the bread in the coals of an open fire. Many times the ketsi would be stacked, one atop the other, to make more than one loaf at a time. I have not found a source of ketsi in the U.S. However, the terra-cotta drip plates that go under flower pots make a good substitute.

Breads baked in ketsi, over a bed of coals, take on a smoky flavor, much favored. A ketsi can be used on the stove top just as easily, and will produce a great bread, albeit without that slightly smoky flavor. It’s sort of like the difference in Baba-Ghannouj when the eggplant is cooked over coals instead of in the oven

Georgians are very fond of stuffed breads. Their globally-famous cheese bread is the best known of these. But breads are filled with all sorts of ingredients before baking, including meats, potatoes, beans, and even greens.

The dough recipes used, the flavorings of the fillings, if being used, and even the shape of the loaf, provide an endless variety of breads. Even breads with the same name are often made from different doughs. Let’s look at a few of them:

DEDA’S PURI
(Georgian Mother’s Dough)


Day in and day out, this is the bread made my Georgian housewives, and is often referred to as “everyday” bread. Although this recipe calls for baking in the oven, Deda’s Puri lends itself especially well to cooking in a ketsi on the stove top or over coals. Note the name change when the shape is changed.

¼ tsp sugar     
1 env (1 tbls) active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (100F)     
¾ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp salt     
2 ¾ cup unbleached flour
Oil

Dissolve first the sugar then the yeast, in a small bowl containing the warm water. Let stand in a warm place for approximately 10 minutes, or until the mixture bubbles and doubles in volume. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the lukewarm water, salt, and flour. Mix well until a dough is formed. Turn onto a floured board and knead for 10-15 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Warm and lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat the entire surface with oil. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let stand in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Punch down the dough and shape whichever way you prefer.

For deda’s puri, divide the dough into two equal portions and roll each into a ball. With floured hands, gently past the first dough ball until it has flattened in a ¼-1/2 inch thick circle. Place it on a nonstick or slightly greased baking sheet ad with your index finger make a hole ½ inch in diameter through the center of the dough. This acts as an air vent, and prevents the dough from puffing up in the center while cooking. Repeat this process with the second ball of dough. Place the bread in the upper third of the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until very pale gold in color.

For shoti’s puri, shape dough into ovals with molded handles on each end

NAZUKI
(Georgian Spice Bread)


Versions of this bread are found throughout the Caucasus and the Mid-East. It’s said that the addition of ground coriander is what makes it Georgian.

¼ cup milk     
1 pkg (1 tbls) active dry yeast
Pinch sugar     
2 eggs well beaten
1 stick butter, melted & cooled     
¼ cup sugar
Generous ½ tsp salt     
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves     
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp vanilla extract     
2 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 egg yolk, beaten

Heat milk to lukewarm (105F). Stir in the yeast and pinch of sugar. Leave to proof 10 minutes, or until mixture begins to foam. Stir in the eggs, melted butter, sugar, salt, spices, and vanilla extract. Add enough of the flour to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, 1 ½-2 hours.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece out into a 6-inch oval about ½ inch thick. Place the loaves on a greased baking sheet and leave to rise covered, for ½ hour.

Preheat oven to 375F.

With your thumb, make indentations in dough in decorative rows. Brush the loaves with beaten egg yolk. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.

PYSHKI
(Georgian Sage and Mint Fritters)


This is an interesting take on fried bread. Although translated as fritters, pyshki more resemble hush puppies. Except I’ve never had a hush puppy as light, airy, and flavorful as these.

1 ½ tsp active dry yeast     
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
Sm onion, finely chopped     
2 tbls butter
1 tbls minced fresh sage     
1 tbls minced fresh mint
2+ cups unbleached white flour     
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup of the water. Cover and leave to proof for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the chopped onion in the butter until golden. Set aside to cool slightly.

When the yeast is bubbly, slowly add the remaining lukewarm water. Stir in the minced herbs and enough flour to make a loose batter (waffle batter like). Stir in the onions. Cover the batter and allow to rise for 45-60 minutes, until light but not quite doubled in bulk.

In a large skillet, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil (375F) Drop the batter by generous tablespoonsful into the hot oil. Do not use more batter, or the fritters will be heavy. Cook the fritters over high heat until puffed and brown, turning once, 2 ½-3 minutes per side.

MCHADI
(Georgian Corn Cakes)


Although originating in western Georgia, mchadi are popular throughout the country. Caution: They are not like any other cornbread you’ve had. Mchadi are dry and bland, making them ideal for sopping up gravies and the like. Most Americans would not care to eat them out of hand, however.

Ideally, mchadi are cooked in a ketsi or cast-iron skillet.


1 cup stone-ground cornmeal (preferably white)
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup cold water

Mix all the ingredients together to make a sticky dough. Form into 6 oval patties.

Preheat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. When the skillet is hot, place the cornmeal cakes in it. Cover and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, turn, and cook for 8-10 minutes more. Best served hot.

EMERULI CHACHAPURI
(Georgian Cheese Bread)


As indicated above, there are numerous forms of this iconic Georgian bread. Making any of them at home, however, presents a problem. Georgian dairy products are proscribed from being imported into the U.S. and EU. So you can’t make them using the actual cheeses of Georgia. So, unless you visit that country, there’s no way of knowing what the breads actually taste like.

There are numerous recipes, however, that claim to replicate the flavors of those cheeses. Or at least come close. Mozzarella and feta, in various proportions, are the most common adaptation. But there are others, as well, some of them far removed from those flavors. The one below is my own mix, based on several of those recipes. The recipe makes enough for two loaves.


Dough:     
1 cup live culture yogurt     
2 tbls sunflower oil
1 tsp baking soda     
Heavy pinch salt
2-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Filling:     
6 oz mozzarella, grated     
6 oz feta, crumbled
4 oz muenster, grated     
1 egg
Egg wash for brushing dough


Preheat oven to 400F. Mix the yogurt, oil, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the 2 cups of flour, mix well, and knead for 6-8 minutes to promote elasticity of the dough. Work in extra flour if the dough is a bit sticky. Depending on how moist the yogurt was, this could take all of the third cup. Let the dough rest while preparing the filling.

Beat the egg lightly, and mix with the grated cheeses. Divide dough in half. Put one half of the dough on a floured surface and roll it into a circle 12-14 inches round by ¼ inch thick. Put ½ the cheese mixture on top of the dough and spread to within 2 inches of the edge. Pick up the edges of the dough and gather them together like a drawstring bag. Press out all of the air, then pinch and seal the edges together. Pat the surface with floured hands and gently flip the khachapuri over, sealed side down, onto a nonstick baking sheet. Glaze the top with the reserved egg and make a small ½-inch hole in the center to allow heat and steam to escape during baking.

Place in the upper third of the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake 15-20 minutes. Serve hot, cut into wedges or slices, with tkemali, as an appetizer or as a snack.

Note: Some cheese may ooze out of the steam vent. Don’t worry about it, as this is normal.

OTHER KHACHAPUR FILLINGS
(Georgian Cheese Bread Mixtures)


1 lb English Lancashire, grated, or ½ pound English Lanchashire and ½ pound Monterey Jack, grated.

2 ounces each grated cheddar, Emmental (or other Swiss), mozzarella, and cottage cheese.

8-10 ounces each Muenster and Harvati cheese, grated.

1 lb Muenster, grated, and ½ pound pot cheese.


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 20 February 2018 at 09:35
I had a big, long, comprehensive reply typed out, and then somehow managed to lose it all; here is the abbreviated version:

Tkemali looks outstanding, for a lot of things; would also like to try it on barbecue, for sure. Do you sense origins that might have originated even farther east (toward China), or is this more likely just a natural consequence of the ingredients and food traditions in Georgia?

Lobio Tkemali would never have occurred to me (beans and plums), but putting the flavours together in my head, it sounds good. Any thoughts on using wild plums (ripe or not) in this, or is the "sour prune" concept probably the best substitute in lieu of actually being there?

Breads! All sound delicious, would like to try them all - can't even pick a favourite. For the Mchadi, is any greasing necessary or desired, or do they go straight down in the cast-iron pan? Do you see any role for Provolone in the Emeruli Chacapri? Did the Georgian yoghurt work well with it?

Wonderful work again, Brook - I might see if I can find a few photos of the various breads, to illustrate some points regarding the different shapes. If you can send a list sometime of these and others, I'll get to work on that.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 20 February 2018 at 11:05
Stand by, Ron. I’m not done with the breads. There’s a whole nuther installment coming up.

Tkemali: Given what I know, I’m confident it’s a purely Georgian thing. Plum sauces elsewhere tend to be either very sweet, or on the hot side. The tartness of this certainly fits in with Georgian flavor profiles. Interestingly, on-line suppliers list three different colors. None of my cooking resources remark on color at all.

Wild plums would be ideal. In fact, that’s what they use in Georgia. It’s a particular variety that grows wild all over the place. If you forage wild plums, I’d check some other recipes, rather than the one I posted. Keep in mind that, with the prunes, we’re reconsitituting them. So, if nothing else, the cook time on plums is likely to be shorter.

I’d made a version of cheese bread this morning, which we ate with tkemali, as suggested in one of my resources, and it was delicious.

I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. The mchadi specifically goes into a dry pan. No grease is used. But I wouldn’t try that in anything but a well-cured cast-iron skillet.

I did use the matsoni in the Emeruli Khachapuri, and it worked perfectly. But any live-culture yogurt would do as well. Yogurt effects the dough two ways; as a contributor to leavening, and as a tenderizer.
Because of the heavy whey content (even after draining) I had to use considerably more flour than called for. But the bread turned out perfect.


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 20 February 2018 at 15:34
Not to go too overboard with the subject of bread, I want to discuss a few more stuffed versions, just to give you an idea of the possibilities.

While any of the yeast doughs work for most of these, they show, too, the diversity of doughs that are created. Feel free to substitute at any time.

ADJARAN KHACHAPURI
Adjura Style Cheese Bread


Arguably the most popular, and certainly the most dramatic, this open-faced cheese bread originated in the Autonomous Republic of Adjura---one of two (and a possible third) such regions in Georgia. Have your guests seated, because you want to serve this right out of the oven.

Deda’s Puri works just fine for these. But there’s a variation that works a little better, so I’ve included it.


For the dough:

1 4/5 cup (8 oz) unbleached yeast flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
¾ tsp salt
½ cup + 2 tbls warm water
1 tbls sunflower oil

Filling for each khachapuri:

8 oz mixed cheeses (example: 2 ounces each of grated cheddar, Emmental or other Swiss cheese, mozzarella, and cottage cheese)
Black pepper to taste

1 egg
1 tbls butter, softened

Make the dough: Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the warm water and mix until they combine together in a ball. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead 5-7 minutes, adding more flour or water as needed. Dough should be slightly on the sticky side.

Form dough into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover bowl and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 90-115 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Punch down dough, knead again for one minute, then separate into 8 equally sized pieces. Form each into a ball.

Roll a ball into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture evenly along the top and bottom edges of the dough, and roll them towards the middle to form a boat-shape with pointed ends. If necessary, pinch the dough to keep it from unfolding.

Spread the balance of the cheese mixture inside the boat. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and dough is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Gently slide a raw egg into the center of the boat, and pop it back in the oven another 2-3 minutes, until the white is set but the yolk still runny. Top each egg with butter. Serve immediately.

To eat, diners break off the “handles” and pieces of the thick crust and use them to swirl the egg into the hot cheese. The residual heat from the cheese completes the cooking.

LOBIANI
(Georgian Bean Bread)


Georgia has had a significant Jewish population for more than 2,600 years. This filled bread originated with them, but is so ubiquitous now that its origins are not even known by most Georgians. This same bread, filled with a mixture of potatoes and onions, is also of Jewish beginnings. Either of them is perfect, right now, during the Lenten season.

1 recipe Emeruli Khachapuri dough (see above)
2 tsp sunflower oil
1 ½ cups cooked small red beans
Salt & pepper to taste

Prepare the dough. Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the beans, and fry them 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. Season with salt and pepper.

Proceed as for Emerali Khachapuri, substituting the beans for the cheese mixture.

HI-RISE KHACHAPURI
(Variation on a theme)


Not so much a recipe as an approach, this technique for shaping khachapuri makes a very dramatic presentation. And it provides still another approach to Georgian bread dough

The original recipe was used with a cheese filling. But any of the fillings work, with potatoes & onions particularly suitable.


For the dough:

2 tbls active dry yeast
½ tsp plus 1 tbls sugar
1 cup lukewarm milk
3 ½-4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
8 tbls (1 stick) butter, softened

Sprinkle the yeast and ½ tsp sugar over ½ cup of the milk in a small bowl. Set aside for 2-3 minutes, then stir until the yeast is thoroughly dissolved. Let proof 5-8 minutes until mixture is bubbly and has doubled in volume.

Put 3 cups of the flour in a large bowl and make a deep well in the center. Add the remaining milk, the yeast mixture, remaining sugar, the salt, and the softened butter. Stir the flour into the mixture, then beat well until smooth. Gather the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured work surface.

Knead the dough ten minutes, adding more flour as you go along to keep it from sticking to the surface. When the dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 45-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare whichever filling you’ll be using.

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly oil or butter a 9-inch layer cake pan.

Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out into a circle about 22 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to the pan, centering it and pressing in to assure contact with the sidewalls. Add the filling to the pan, mounding it. Bring the overhanging dough up and over the filling, pleating it as evenly as possible. Pinch and twist the topknot. Visually, you will have created a giant khinkali. Let the bread rest 10-15 minutes, then transfer to the oven. Bake until golden brown, about an hour.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool a bit before serving.

Speaking of variations on a theme, khachapuri is often made in the form of tartlets. To do that, roll out the dough until it’s a little less than ¼ inch thick. Then use a 4 ½” cookie cutter to punch out circles. Put two tablespoons of the filling on the circle and shape it into a diamond shape. Then roll the edges of the dough up over the edge of the filling, following the diamond shape. Perfect the “diamond” by pinching the four corners to a sharp point.

Arrange the tartlets on a baking pan, and bake at 375F until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

These tartlets are so popular in Georgia that they are sold as street food.

FIDJIN
(Georgian Meat Pie)


Fidjin is a specialty of the mountain region of Ossetia. I’m including it because it’s delicious, and demonstrates the diversity of filled breads. Although the translation says “pie,” I believe that’s only because there is a top and bottom crust.

1 ½ lbs lamb in small pieces (try a ¼” dice---or even ground lamb)     
Lamb fat
2 garlic cloves, crushed     
½ cup parsley, chopped fine
Salt & pepper to taste     
1 recipe deda’s puri
Oil for greasing pan     
Butter for glazing

Brown the lamb in lamb fat. Add the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well and let stand while preparing the pastry. Prepare the deda’s puri dough (see card)

Preheat oven to 400F. Divide the dough into (2) portions. Roll one in a circle to cover the bottom of a greased 9-inch round spring form, cake, or tart pan. Spread the filling to within ½ inch of the outer edge. Roll out the second ball of dough as a cover for the pie. Moisten the edges of the bottom crust with water, then lay the second circle of dough over the meat filling and gently press the edges together. Cut a 1-inch cross in the center and fold back the 4 corners to allow steam to escape while cooking.

Place in the oven for 5 minutes, brush the top with butter, then reduce the heat to 375F and continue baking for 15-20 minutes more. The fidjin will be golden brown and can be glazed with melted butter when removed from the oven.











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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 21 February 2018 at 05:07
I promised we’d discuss Baton or Saber bread, both because of its place in Georgian cuisine, and the fact that the Alford/Duguid team developed a way of making it in the home oven.

As with Pita, making Baton bread is a complex, time-consuming process. The first time you attempt it the time will stretch even further. Only you can decide whether it’s worth the effort.

The Alford/Duguid team add whole wheat flour to practically all their flatbread recipes. I like that approach, because it gives the breads a deeper, more interesting flavor. If you want to be true to the Georgian recipe, however, substitute all-purpose flour.

Here is their method, as presented in Fine Cooking magazine:

SHOTIS PURI
(Georgian Baton Bread)


1 tsp active dry yeast
2 ½ cups lukewarm water (about 100F)
5 oz (1 cup) whole wheat flour
24 oz (5 1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more or less as needed
1 tbls coarse salt

To make the dough: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the whole wheat flour and about 2 cups of the all-purpose flour. Stir in the same direction until smooth and then stir another 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic; set in a cool place for at least 10 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Stir in the salt. Gradually add 2-3 cups flour, mixing the dough until it’s too stiff to stir. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Wash, dry, and lightly oil the bowl. Knead the dough, letting it absorb as much flour as needed (by keeping the work surface dusted, until it’s smooth and elastic but still a little tacky, 10-15 minutes.

Put the dough in the bowl, cover well with plastic, and let rise in a cool place for 8 hours or overnight. If you’re not ready to bake yet, punch down the dough, put in in a plastic bag, and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

To shape and bake: About 1 ¼ hours before you want to serve the breads, set an oven rack to a middle or lower middle rung. But a large baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles on it, leaving a 1-inch gap around the border.* Heat the oven to 475F. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut it into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover them, and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Cut one ball in half (leave the other balls covered) and turn the cut surfaces down. Flatten each half with your lightly floured pal to a 6x4-inch oval. Cover loosely. Half and flatten the remaining pieces the same way. Let the ovals rest, covered, for 10 minutes so they’re easier to shape.

Dust a rimless baking sheet or peel lightly with flour. Working with one oval at a time, pull gently on opposite ends to begin to make wings of batons. Transfer the dough to the baking stone, keeping it on one side if possible, and stretch another oval and bake it alongside the first.

Bake the breads until their tops are lightly touched with color and the bottoms have a golden crust, 5-7 minutes. Remove them with a peel or long-handled spatula and transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Wrap them in a cotton cloth to keep them soft and warm, and repeat with the remaining 6 ovals.

*(HistoricFoodie note:) Lining an oven with baking stones is not unusual for serious bread bakers. As an alternative, preheat an inverted sheet pan, and, at the appropriate time, transfer the dough to it.

This completes our section on Georgian breads. Next time we’ll get back to cooking.


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 21 February 2018 at 08:35
Excellent, Brook - thanks for posting this ~

All of these breads sound incredible, and I've seen photos of a few. I notice that some cultures (including Georgia, from what I can see) take particular interest in the shape of many breads. Naturally, much of this is due to necessity or utility; however, quite a few also seem to have another purpose - whether decorative, traditional or just whimsical, I do not know.



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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 24 February 2018 at 07:42
As is not unusual among mountain peoples, Georgians love soup; hot or cold, hearty or light, they are likely to convert any ingredients on hand into a soup. More than one authority has pointed out that soups (and, their thicker version, stews) are the oldest and most traditional of Georgian dishes.

Traditions and rituals around soup abound. My favorite: At a wedding feast a particular soup is served, made with a blade-roast of beef. After the soup is served the blade bone is carefully cleaned and dried, and all the wedding guests sign it.

One of the more special, and, to me, unexpected, main soup ingredients is yogurt. Even within the limited resources I’ve been using there are at least a dozen variations of yogurt soup. True, other Caucasus regions have yogurt soup---Turkey and Armenia come immediately to mind---but not in such diversity.

Hot yogurt soup might sound a little strange, at first. But it’s really very good, with surprising nuances of flavor. Here, for instance, is a basic yogurt soup:

MATSUNIS SHECHAMANDI
(Georgian Yogurt Soup)


2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups yogurt
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Put the stock in a medium pot, bring to boil, then reduce heat immediately.

Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onion until transparent. Add to the stock. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes, then gradually stir in the yogurt. Caution: If stock is too hot, yogurt will curdle.

Add salt, garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.

This soup is sometimes made more hearty by sautéing ½ cup sliced mushrooms and 2 finely chopped shallots. Stir in 2 tablespoons dry white wine and a dash of hot paprika, then proceeding with the recipe. This version is often garnished with thinly sliced pimiento strips.

Under the same name, I found a slightly more complex version:

MATSUNIS SHECHAMANDI     
(Georgian Yogurt Soup)


1 tbls flour
1/8th tsp salt
3 cups plain yogurt
1 cup water
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbls butter
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tbls minced fresh mint
2 tbls minced cilantro
¼ cup cooked rice

Stir the flour and salt into the yogurt, then add the water and beat well.

In a stockpot, sauté the onion lightly in the butter, then stir in the yogurt. Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Carefully stir a little of the hot liquid into the beaten eggs, then whisk the eggs into the soup. Simmer a few minutes longer.

Just before serving, add the minced herbs and rice.

Rice and other grains are often used to help thicken soups and make them more hearty. A more traditional such addition is to include wheat berries.

More time consuming, but worth the effort, is the following made with two types of noodles:

TUTMAJI
(Georgian Noodle and Yogurt Soup)


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour     
½ cup water
4 tbls clarified butter     
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup plain yogurt     
1 ½ tsp salt or to taste
3 cups water

Mix the flour and ½ cup water together to form a fairly stiff dough. Knead it on a lightly floured surface for 3-4 minutes or until the dough is smooth and doesn’t stick. Divide dough in half. Cover one with plastic wrap while working on the other.

Roll the first piece of dough into a circle about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle it with flour. Cut it into four strips, horizontally. Stack the strips and slice them crosswise to produce short noodles, about ½ inch wide. Sprinkle with flour as you break them into individual noodles.

Roll the remaining dough into several ropes the thickness of fat pencils. Cut each rope crosswise to form small chunky pieces about ½ inch long. Sprinkle them with a little flour.
Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over low to medium heat and, when it’s bubbling, add the chunky dough pieces, tossing them until they’re golden brown, about 15 minutes. Bring 3 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the onions to the pan with the dough chunks and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, 5-6 minutes.

When the water boils, stir in 1 ½ teaspoons salt and the noodles. When the water returns to boil and the noodles come to the surface, stir in the yogurt and cook for a couple of minutes more. Stir in the onion mixture, taste for seasoning, and serve hot.

Beyond yogurt there is an astounding diversity of soups found throughout Georgia. Here are just a few of them:

KHARCHO
(Georgian Beef Soup with Herbs)


2 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into ¾ inch cubes
1 lb veal or beef bones
2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs parsley
¼ tsp whole black peppercorns
¼ cup uncooked rice
3 large onions
2 tbls butter
1 ¾ tsp salt
2 ounces apricot leather (or sub tart dried apricots)
¼ cup boiling water
1 tbls lemon juice
Black pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp paprika
Generous ½ tsp each of ground coriander seed, dried basil, ground caraway seed and ground marigold petals.
3 tbls finely chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill, etc.)

Bring the beef and bones to a boil in the 2 quarts water and skim the foam that rises to the surface. Add the bay leaves, parsley sprigs and peppercorns and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Strain, reserving meat.

Return the broth to a boil, add the rice, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop the onions and cook in the butter until soft but not brown. Add them to the soup along with the salt. Cook 10 minutes more, or until the rice is done.

Put the apricot leather in a bowl and pour the ¼ cup boiling water over it. Let stand 15 minutes, then stir until creamy. If using dried apricots, puree them. Then should not be in pieces. Add the lemon juice.

Return the meat to the pot. Stir in the freshly ground pepper, the garlic, cayenne, paprika, ground spices, and apricot puree. Cook for ten minutes more. If making the soup ahead, it can be cooled and refrigerated at this point. When ready to serve, heat gently, then proceed.

Stir in the fresh herbs and let the soup stand for 5 minutes before serving.

CHIKHIRTMA
(Georgian Tart Chicken Soup)


1 3 ½-4 lb chicken     
2 med onions, finely chopped
1 tsp salt     
2 bay leaves
1 tsp powdered marigold     
1 tbls cornstarch
3 eggs     
Salt
6-8 tbls vinegar or to taste (other versions use lemon juice)
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Put the chicken into a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Add the onions, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and let the chicken simmer for 1-1 ½ hours, adding additional water as needed. Skim the surface of foam and fat frequently. Add the powdered marigold midway through the cooking time. When the chicken is tender, remove from the soup.

Cut white meat into small pieces and return to the soup. Reserve dark meat for other purposes.

Remove 1 cup of stock, let it cool, and stir in the cornstarch. Beat the eggs until barely combined in a small bowl. Gradually add to the cooled stock, stirring well, then add to the soup pot slowly, stirring constantly. Continue simmering for 1-2 minutes to thicken soup. Add salt add vinegar.

Serve immediately garnished with chopped cilantro.

As mentioned above, there was a thriving Jewish population in Georgia for more than 2 ½ centuries. They often put a Georgian slant on otherwise common Jewish foods. For instance, in a chicken soup like this one, instead of matzoh balls, they’d make walnut balls:

KHENAGI
(Georgian/Jewish Walnut Balls)


½ lb shelled walnuts           
2 eggs

In a food processor or with mortar & pestle, grind the walnuts to a paste. Beat the eggs well, then stir into ground walnuts.

Bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil.

Moisten your hands with water. With your fingers make 1-inch balls, using about a tablespoon of the mixture for each.

Drop the nut balls into boiling water and simmer them, covered, for 15 minutes.

Serve in chicken or vegetable soup.

BOZBASHI
(Georgian Hearty Lamb Soup)


2 tbls butter     
2 med onions, chopped
1 ½ lbs lamb, cubed     
1 ½ cups peeled, seeded, &   chopped tomato
2 med potatoes, chopped     
12 large okra pods, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)          
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
1 ½ tsp salt     
Black pepper to taste
2 qts water     
¼ cup parsley, chopped fine

In a large stockpot, heat the butter. Add the onion and sauté until soft and golden, 10-15 minutes. Add lamb and cook over medium heat, stirring, until meat browns. Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes, red pepper, okra, apricots, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to sweat. Add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 1 ½ hours. Stir in the parsley.

MAKVLIS SUPI
(Georgian Cold Blackberry Soup)


2 lbs blackberries
1 garlic clove, crushed
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped mint-flavored thyme*
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
Pinch salt
1 tsp wine vinegar
Sour cream

Crush the blackberries and strain the juice. You should have about 3 ½ cups. Add water if necessary to equal that amount. Add the remaining ingredients, except the sour cream, stir well, and chill. Serve in soup plates with sour cream passed at the table.

*Mint-flavored thyme is a unique herb, found in Georgia. If unavailable (which is likely), substitute a mixture of 1 tablespoon mint and 2 tablespoons thyme.


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 26 February 2018 at 09:21
Good morning, Brook -

Some excellent soups there. Several caught my eye, and I would really like to try them. The first one (Matsunis Shechamandi) is likely to be first one my list, with the added mushrooms and shallot. I don't recall seeing pimientos available around here, except in olives, but there are jars of "roasted red pepper" which might serve as well.

Others sound really good, too - a very wide range that is sure to capture the interest of just about anyone.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 26 February 2018 at 11:07
That's ok, Ron. I don't recall seeing pimientos in any of these soup recipes. So, no harm, no foul.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 27 February 2018 at 02:20
Whoops! Sorry! I see it now, as a garnish for the alternate version.

There's no reason I can see to not use the roasted red peppers if pimiento isn't available. The pepper strips would be laid on each serving, to add color and eye appear---the basic function of any garnish.



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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 27 February 2018 at 17:25
One of my biggest issues, with Georgian cuisine, is organizing the dishes. Given the nature of how food is served, Georgian dishes do not break down into courses. So, while there are many foods we might think of as main dishes, or appetizers, or sides, that’s not how it works in Georgia.

One can think of a Georgian meal almost as a series of zakusky tables, or as a small-plates meal. Either of those is closer to the mark than artificially dividing it into categories, and forcing it into typical Western service.

That being the case, in the next few installments I’m going to just present Georgian recipes, helter skelter, with no attempt at organization. If you want to do a Georgian meal, just pick and choose the ones that appeal (along with others I’ve posted above). There’s one caveat: Although a Georgian meal might seem to be an arbitrary collection of dishes, such is not the case. Georgian cooks strive for a balance of flavors, with each dish on the table complimenting all the others. And, don’t forget, that a Georgian table, no matter what else appears on it, is anchored at both ends with bread---usually two different kinds.

Keep in mind, too, that, unlike other cuisines in the region, Georgians utilize all proteins with equal fervor. Beef, lamb, chicken and other fowl are eaten with equal pleasure. Seafood is an exception, in that, other than along the Black Sea coast, most Georgian fish dishes are based on freshwater varieties, many of which are not available other than in the rivers and lakes of the country. I have not, as yet, tried any of them. But will include recipes for those who would like to.

KATAMI BROTSEULIT
(Georgian Chicken with Pomegranate Juice)


Try and find unsweetened pomegranate juice when making this dish. If not, add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to cut the sweetness.

2 lb chicken pieces with some skin left on
Flour for dredging     
1 tbls sunflower oil
1 ½ cups chopped onion     
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed     
½ tbls dried summer savory     
2 bay leaves     
1 cup water     
1 ½ cups pomegranate juice     
Seeds of 1 pomegranate     
Salt and pepper to taste

Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil in a sauté pan large enough to fit all the chicken in one layer. Brown the chicken on all sides over medium heat, turning once or twice, about 12-15 minutes.

Stir in the onion and cook with the chicken for 5 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add the coriander seeds, herbs, water, and half the pomegranate juice, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally, until the juice runs clear when a knife is inserted.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining pomegranate juice. Check the seasoning. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and a few leaves of fresh thyme before serving.

ADJAPSANDALI
(Georgian Ratatouille)


Here we run into that translation problem, again. The author calls this ratatouille, but it has little resemblance to the French dish. Another author calls is a vegetable medley, which is, perhaps, closer to the mark. Either way, it’s delicious.

1 med eggplant, peeled & cut in ½” cubes
2 large green peppers in chunks     
2 med carrots, peeled & diced
1 onion, coarsely chopped     
3 tomatoes, peeled, cored, diced
Oil for sautéing     
2 tbls mint, chopped fine
1 tbls thyme, chopped fine     
¼ cup cilantro, chopped coarse
¼ cup basil, chopped coarse     
¼ cup parsley, chopped coarse
Black pepper & cinnamon to taste
Yogurt

Salt the eggplant, let stand for an hour, then rinse and dry well. Sauté each of the vegetables separately in oil until golden or medium tender. When sautéing tomatoes, add the mint, thyme, and half the cilantro, basil, and parsley. Add the pepper, cinnamon, and salt to taste; mix well.

Mound on serving dish. Sprinkle with remaining fresh herbs. Serve with yogurt on the side.

GOGRA NIGVZIT
(Georgian Pumpkin with Walnuts)


If pumpkin isn’t available, substitute butternut squash. Be careful not to overcook it. You want the pumpkin to be tender but not mushy.
     Cornelian cherries are another uniquely Georgian ingredient. Dried, unsweetened cranberries, dried sour cherries, or even dried barberries work just as well.


4 cups diced cooked pumpkin     
¾ cup walnut halves
1/ tsp coriander seeds, crushed     
¼ tsp ground fenugreek
2 garlic cloves, chopped     
¼ tsp salt
2 tbls white wine vinegar     
3-4 tbls water
1/3 cup scallions, white & green, chopped fine
¼ cup cilantro, chopped fine     
¼ cup sliced Cornelian cherries or dried cranberries     
¼ tsp finely sliced green chili (op)     
12 toasted walnut halves

Place the cool diced pumpkin in a medium mixing bowl.

In a food processor or mortar with pestle, combine the walnuts, coriander seeds, fenugreek, garlic and salt. Process to a paste. Stir in the vinegar and process again. Turn the mixture into a bowl and stir in the water to loosen the paste. Add the scallions and cilantro.

Stir the walnut mixture into the pumpkin and mix well. Add the cherries or cranberries and mix again.

Turn the pumpkin into a serving bowl and allow to rest for at least an hour at room temperature. Decorate with the chili and toasted walnuts before serving.

GUPTA
(Georgian Meat Patties)


More than likely, this dish started life as a way of using up leftovers, rather than cooking everything from-scratch as in the recipe. Logically, most cultures probably use a similar approach to left-overs. But this is only the second time I’ve seen it start with raw meat. The other was Ana Sortun’s Turkish-influenced Galette of Tender Pork (http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/galette-of-tender-pork-with-cumin-and-cider_topic4574.html).

¾ lb stewing beef (shoulder)     
4 tbls butter
1 cup raisins     
1 med potato, boiled
½ cup shelled walnuts     
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¾ tsp salt     
Black pepper to taste
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs
Parsley sprigs for garnish

Bring the beef to a boil in cold salted water, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, or until tender.

In a skillet melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Stir in ¾ cup of the raisins and cook them, covered, over low heat until plump, about ten minutes.

In a food processor, coarsely grind together the boiled beef, potato, walnuts, remaining ¼ cup raisins, and the parsley. Stir in the salt, pepper, and beaten egg. Shape the mixture into 12 flat, oval patties, about 3 inches long. Dust the patties with bread crumbs.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet and fry the patties slowly until browned, turning once.

Arrange the patties decoratively on a platter and strew the plumped raisins over them. Garnish with parsley sprigs.










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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 28 February 2018 at 11:03
Good recipes all, Brook - I see some similarities between the chicken dish and a Persian dish that I read about once.

It seems to me that this is a very, very old cuisine; maybe it is the herbs or maybe it is the primary ingredients...maybe it is the fundamental way in which they are prepared, but I get the impression of some real ancient foodways. I could easily imagine much of it nearly unchanged for hundreds or even thousands of years, except for the "recent" additions such as peppers, tomatoes etc.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 March 2018 at 08:39
There's no doubt that Georgia adopted the Persian technique of mixing fruit (or fruit juice) with proteins, Ron. The difference is that in Persia the tendency was to use sweet fruits (I have, for instance, in my files, a fantastic Persian dish for chicken and peaches). In Georgia, on the other hand, they go with tart flavors. Thus the pomegranate juice in that recipe.

-------------
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 March 2018 at 09:19
Continuing our look at Georgian recipes, here are some additional ones in no particular order:

CHASHUSHULI
(Georgian Beef and Chickpea Stew)


This recipe is an ideal example of the Georgian penchant for fresh herbs.
     While any stewing beef would work, I chose beef shoulder, and it worked perfectly


5 tbls sunflower oil     
2 lbs + stewing beef
2 cups chopped onion     
½ cup finely chopped ginger
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped     
1 cup white wine
3 cups cooked chickpeas     
2 cups beef stock
Chili to taste     
1 ½ tsp salt
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley     
3 tbls finely chopped mint
3 tbls finely chopped dill     
Black pepper to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy casserole. Brown the meat in batches, removing each batch to a bowl.

Preheat oven to 300F.

When all meat is browned lower heat, pour in balance of oil, and add onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir well to scrape up the meat cooking juices, cover the pan, and cook slowly for 8-10 minutes until onions are soft. Pour the wine into the onions, raise the heat, and cook 2 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and bring to boil.

Stir in the meat and its juices. Pour in the hot stock. Add the chili, salt and parsley and mix well.

Cover the casserole and place in the center of the oven. Cook 90-120 minutes until meat is tender. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the mint and dill and allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.

CHAKHOKHBILI
(Georgian Chicken & Tomato Stew)


In Georgia, this would be made on top of the stove, rather than in the oven.
          This same stew, made with beef, is called Chashushuli. Adjust cook time to 70-90 minutes.


3 tbls butter     
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 lb skinless/boneless chicken in 1 ¼” cubes
1 tsp ground fenugreek     
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups water or chicken stock     
1 tsp salt
1 cup tomato pulp, fresh or canned     
Chopped fresh chili to taste
1 oz cilantro, tied in a bunch     
¼ cup chopped cilantro     
¼ cup chopped basil     
2 tbls chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a heavy casserole melt half the butter. Stir in the onions and cook over low heat until translucent, about 7 minutes. Turn the onions onto a side plate and add the remaining butter to the pan. Stir in the meat, raise the heat, and brown on all sides in small batches. When all the meat is browned, return it to the pan with the onions, fenugreek, and half the garlic. Cook for a minute more.
Add the water, salt and tomato pulp and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the chili. Remove from heat and push cilantro bundle into middle of stew. Cover casserole and place in center of the oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 50-60 minutes, until meat is tender but not dry.

Remove stew from oven. Pull out the cilantro bouquet and discard. Stir in the fresh herbs and remaining garlic. Let stand five minutes before serving.

PRASI
(Georgian Leeks with Walnut Paste)


Here is yet another version of a dish made with a walnut sauce. In this case, the paste is actually a condiment Georgian housewives keep on hand all the time. Naturally, everyone has their favorite recipe. And everyone’s mixture is the “best.”

3 1/3 cups sliced leeks     
3 tbls walnut paste
2 tbls water     
1 tbls cilantro, chopped fine
Red pepper flakes     
Salt & pepper to taste

Prep leeks: Using whites and tender green parts, slice lengthwise, halfway through leek, then into 1-inch slices. Rinse well in a bowl of cold water to remove any grit.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Drop the leeks into it and boil for 5 minutes, until the leeks are just soft. Drain over a bowl to catch the cooking water (use it in soups or stews). Let the leeks cool in the strainer or colander.

In a cup, mix the walnut paste with the water and stir well for a minute or two. This will help release the walnuts’ flavor. Add the cilantro.

Turn the cool leeks into a serving bowl. Stir in the paste and mix well. Taste for seasoning, adding a pinch of optional chili flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.

MIGVZIS SAKMAZI
(Georgian Walnut Paste)


1 ½ cups walnut halves     
3 garlic cloves
½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed     
¼ tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp salt     
1 tbls chopped mint
3 tbls chopped cilantro     
1 tsp minced dill
Fresh chili to taste     
¼ cup water

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have an even paste

Store tightly wrapped with plastic wrap (on the surface) for up to two weeks in the fridge. Or small batches can be frozen for quick use at a later date.

SOKO ARAJANIT
(Georgian Mushrooms in Sour Cream Sauce


Georgians share a love of mushrooms with their Russian neighbors, and recipes have criss-crossed both countries for time out of mind. Indeed, with the addition of some fresh dill, this would be a classic Russian dish.

1 lb white mushrooms     
5 tbls butter
Salt to taste     
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream     
2 tbls flour
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Slice mushrooms into 3-4 pieces. In a cast-iron pan, melt the butter, add the mushrooms, and cook over medium heat, stirring often. Once mushrooms produce some juice, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5-6 minutes. Add salt.
Add the mild to the sour cream and stir until blended. Stir in the flour until smooth. Uncover mushrooms, increase heat slightly, and slowly stir in the cream mixture. Allow mixture to bubble gently. Continue stirring as it thickens. If sauce gets too thick add more milk.

Pour into 6 ramekins (3/4 cup), place on a cookie sheet, and put in oven. Bake 8-10 minutes or until surface of each begins to brown.

Serve immediately with a grind of black pepper at the table.     

MTSVANE LOBIOS SALATI
(Georgian Green Bean Salad)


Full disclosure: Friend Wife and I were less than impressed with this dish. There’s nothing wrong with it. But, after so many truly special Georgian dishes, this one is sort of ho-hum. Give it a try, though, and see what you think.

1 lb young green beans
1 lg garlic clove, minced
½ cup cilantro, chopped     
3 tbls olive oil
2 tbls red wine vinegar

Trim beans and cook them in boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well and mix with the remaining ingredients. Chill for several hours, but bring to near room temperature before serving.
     






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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 04 March 2018 at 15:02
Brook and  Ron, 

Definitely has touches of the  " Ancient Silk and Spice Route " and the Persians and perhaps The  Greeks, and / or the ancient Palestinians ..  Olive oil has been produced in Israel and Palestine for over 8,000 years and wine vinegars to my knowledge hail from the  Roman Empire ..  

These récipes sound wonderful and are relatively simple to prepare too ..  

Savoury ( summer and Winter ) are Mediterranean, if I recall ..  

Thank you so much for posting ..  Shall take my time to re - read and see which I shall prepare ..  


As we have a time difference and it is 23.00 and I must be up at 6am, I must say goodnight .. Have a lovely evening .. 




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Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 05 March 2018 at 04:29
Margi, if you read further up, I discuss Georgia's geographic locale, and its place in the ancient trade routes.

Savory is thought of as Mediterranean because it now grows (and is used) throughout the region. It originated in southeastern Europe. The winter variety is a perennial (as opposed to summer savory, which is an annual) and is much stronger in flavor.

It's a very popular herb in Georgia, where, along with other fresh herbs, is often eaten out of hand.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 05 March 2018 at 06:27
Historic Foodie Brook,

Thank you, yes I just realised .. 

Fascinating and ancient  food culture surely and wonderful récipes ..

All my best wishes for a lovely day ..

  


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Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 05 March 2018 at 10:40
Brook - another very nice installment of recipes. My list keeps growing!

The mushrooms in sour cream and both of the stews immediately appeal to me, and the others look good as well. I'll see if we can give the green bean one a try and let you know what we think - but that darn cilantro might end up being cut significantly with parsley!

Thanks again for a great installment, my friend - you are rocking this Georgian thing very much!

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 10 March 2018 at 08:03
Here is another diverse group of Georgian dishes:

IKHVI MAQVLIT
(Georgian Duck with Blackberry Sauce)


Normally made with chicken, Carla Capalbo adapted it to duck. It can also be made using pork tenderloin---which I’ve done---and is equally delicious. If using pork, adjust cooking time appropriately.

2 boneless duck breasts, skin on, or pork tenderloin, or chicken breasts

For marinade:     

2 garlic cloves, minced     
½ tsp coriander seed, crushed
½ tsp grated fresh ginger     
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes     
3 tbls blackberry juice

For sauce:     

2 cups blackberries     
¼ cup water
¼ tsp coriander seed, crushed     
¼ tsp ground fenugreek
2 tbls chopped cilantro     
1 tbls chopped fresh mint
¼ tsp salt     
2 tbls lemon juice
12 blackberries for garnish

Prepare marinade in a zipper bag. Score duck skin, add to marinade, and coat well. If cooking berries after this step, add juice when ready.

Cook the blackberries with the water in a small saucepan, covered, over low heat. Cook until the fruit is soft, ten minutes. Remove from heat and push berries and juice through a sieve, discarding the seeds. Add the spices, herbs and salt to the juice and mix well.

Have the duck at room temperature. Pan fry skin side down, over high heat, until golden, about 4 minutes. Turn, and cook 3 minutes more.

Remove duck from pan, discarding all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Reduce the heat to medium low. Pour in the lemon juice and ¾ cup of the berry sauce and stir to scrap up cooking juices and fond. Return duck to pan and spoon sauce over it. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes (for medium rare). Add the remaining berries for the last few minutes. Allow the duck to stand for ten minutes. Slice diagonally. Serve with the sauce and berries.

KOMBOSTOS RULETI NIGVZIT
(Georgian Stuffed Cabbage


Here we have two versions of what is, essentially, the same dish. Filling #1 will make quite a few rolls. Filling #2 is just enough to use with the alternative rolling method. Interestingly, the second method is called Abkhazian Roule.

     Small head cabbage     

Filling #1: 3 heaping cups walnuts     
     ¾ tsp coriander seed
     ¾ tsp ground marigold     
     Scant 1 ½ tsp salt
     4 small garlic cloves, chopped     
     3 sprigs cilantro
     Pinch cayenne     
     Pinch dried fenugreek
     1 tbls red wine vinegar     
     6 tbls mixed chopped herbs
     Pomegranate seeds

Filling #2: 1 cup walnuts     
     2 cloves garlic
     1 tsp dried coriander     
     1 tsp dried marigold
     ½ tsp khmeli-suneli     
     Salt & hot paprika to taste
     ¼ cup cilantro, chopped fine     
     ¼ cup basil, chopped fine
     ¼ cup parsley, chopped fine     
     Sm onion, chopped fine
     1-2 tsp vinegar     
     Mayo, pomegranate seeds, opal basil garnish

Grind walnuts until very fine. In a mortar with a pestle, pound into a paste the coriander seed, marigold, salt, garlic, cilantro, and a pinch each of cayenne and fenugreek. Stir into the walnuts, then add the vinegar. Stir in the mixed chopped herbs and mix well.

Boil cabbage until tender. Carefully separate leaves. Working one leaf at a time, cut out tough rib, then mound about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of leaf and roll it up to make a packet. Repeat with rest of leaves.

Cut each roll in half diagonally to expose filling. Serve at room temperature.

Alternatively, on a kitchen towel lay out 6-7 leaves in a row, overlapping about an inch. Spread the filling, leaving ½” margin on three sides, and 1” margin at the far edge. Using the towel, roll the cabbage like a strudel, ending seam side down. Let rest ½ hour, then refrigerate. Cut roll into 1” slices and arrange on a platter, garnishing each with mayonnaise, a pomegranate seed, and opal basil.

LABDA
(Georgian Potato Pancake)


This was a favorite of Georgian Jews, particularly during Passover. My father used to make a similar pancake, using raw, grated potatoes and without the walnuts---sort of like an overgrown latke---so I was really drawn to this dish.

1 lb boiling potatoes     
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tbls finely chopped parsley     
½ tsp salt
Black pepper to taste     
3 lg eggs, beaten
2 tbls butter     
2 tbls vegetable oil

Boil the potatoes until tender, peel, and mash them. Stir in the walnuts, parsley, salt, pepper, and eggs, mixing well.

In a ten-inch skillet with sloping sides, melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil. When hot, spoon pancake batter into the pan, pressing down with a spatula to form and even cake.

Cook over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, or until the bottom of the pancake is brown and crusty. Slide the pancake onto a platter.
Melt the remaining butter and oil in the skillet, then invert the pancake into the skillet and fry the other side until brown, about 4 minutes more. Slide out onto a platter and serve, cut in wedges.

KUPATI
(Georgian Sausage)


This is a truly special dish, reflecting, in its mixture of flavorings, Georgia’s location on the old Spice Road. I’m not quite sure what the shaping instructions mean; I just left the sausages in links. If casings are unavailable, the prepared sausage meat may simply be shaped into patties before cooking.
     Although I have no documentation for it, this sausage works equally well with lamb.

1 lb pork butt     
½ lb hard fatback, or salt pork blanched for 15 minutes.
1 tsp dried summer savory     
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves     
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt     
¼ cup tkemali sauce

Grind together medium-fine the pork butt, fatback, and garlic. Thoroughly work in the spices with your hands, then stir in the tkemali sauce. Stuff the mixture into casings to make sausages about 1 ½ inches in diameter.

Tie the casings at 8-inch intervals, tying off each link twice so that they can be cut apart. Separate the links and shape into horseshoes or coils. Either grill or fry the kupati in a skillet.




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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: Melissa Mead
Date Posted: 10 March 2018 at 17:48
My guess would be that it means make a sausage, tie a knot, leave a space, tie another knot, then make another sausage. Then if you have a string of sausages to keep throughout the winter, you can cut between knots to get one sausage without breaking open the one next to it.


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Melissa

http://carpelibris.wordpress.com/ - http://carpelibris.wordpress.com/



Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 10 March 2018 at 18:24
Thanks, Melissa.

First off, this is a fresh sausage, not a cured one designed to keep.

That aside, I understood the instructions for double tying. When I was taught sausage making, lo! these many years ago, that was standard practice.

What confuses me is the "shape into horseshoes or coils." I don't know how that can be done with an 8" sausage link. Coils are usually made using the whole casing---or a significant part of it---without separating the sausage into links. In fact, left to its own devices, the sausage will naturally form such a coil as it comes off the filling machine.

I've no idea what the horseshoe shape would be. I get a mental picture of an open U. But don't know how you would shape that, or why.

Perhaps some of our members who are into charcuterie can help.



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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 11 March 2018 at 11:40
Many of these dishes sound amazing and they have been put on my every growing list.  I may start with the Tkemali sour plum sauce.

Brook, have you prepared this sauce as written or did you buy a bottle online.  If you have made this sauce, did you use the dried "Turkish Prunes"  or did you use whatever was available to you fresh.  I suspect it would be fantastic either way.



Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 11 March 2018 at 14:04
G-man, I made it using dried Turkish Prunes, following the recipe as written. It came out beautifully.

I've got a recipe for making it from scratch, as well. But, to work, you have to use under ripe plums, so as to get the sourness. Even in season, it's problematical whether you can find plums at the right stage.

In Georgia they use a particular wild plum that, apparently, grows all over the place.

I'll be happy to post the recipe if you want it.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 11 March 2018 at 14:32
I'm going to check if dried Turkish prunes are available locally before I go further with this.  There are no specific Middle Eastern markets nearby but there are Asian and Indian markets.  Many times one or both will carry whatever Middle Eastern products I'm looking for.


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 11 March 2018 at 17:00
If not, Amazon has them at a pretty good price. I ordered two pounds the other day, which cut the shipping cost exponentially.

Amazon lists them as sour plums.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 11 March 2018 at 19:48
Thanks for the tip.  If I can't find them locally I will order the sour plums from Amazon.  




Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 12 March 2018 at 08:16
With this group of recipes I’m ending my exploration of Georgian cuisine. Don’t get me wrong; I’m certainly going to continue my research into this fascinating, some would say unique, culinary culture. There’s more I want to learn about Georgian foodways. And, as a separate but related topic, there’s the incredible wine-making process that needs examination. As time goes by, I’ll share any new insights. But, for now, we’ve pretty much provided an overview of the Georgian approach to food and ingredients.

I sincerely hope some of you will try a few Georgian dishes. And, when you do, you’ll post your experiences on this thread, so others can benefit.

KUTAISURE SALATI
(Georgian Tomato & Cucumber Salad)


I can’t think of a culture that doesn’t have a riff on tomato/cucumber salad. What makes this one different is the inclusion of fresh coriander (cilantro).
     That said, variations of this salad are found all over Georgia, having in common only tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs. So variations are endless.


4 ripe tomatoes cut in wedges     
2 med cukes, peeled & sliced
1 red onion, halved & sliced     
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped basil     
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
¼ cup olive oil     
Salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients except the oil, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil. Add salt & pepper and toss.

Chill before serving.

SOKO TSITELI TSITSAKIT
(Georgian Mushrooms and Red Peppers)


This recipe requires a fairly large skillet---14-16 inches---to accommodate the volume. If you don’t have one, just cut the recipe in half.

1 ½ lbs mixed wild & domestic mushrooms
1 cup onion, chopped     
3 tbls cold-pressed oil
1 large red bell pepper in large dice     
¼ tsp dried summer savory
½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed     
½ tsp ground fenugreek
¼ tsp red pepper flakes     
1 cup canned tomatoes with juice, roughly choped
2 garlic cloves, chopped     
½ cup mixed, chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, cilantro)
1 tsp salt or Svanetian salt (preferred)     
Freshly ground black pepper

Clean mushrooms. Leave small ones whole, cut large ones in half. Mushroom pieces should be large for this dish.

In a large frying pan, sauté the onion in the oil until it starts to soften and becomes translucent, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper, dry herbs, spices, and red pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes, add the mushrooms, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mushrooms start to brown and release some of their moisture, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, the garlic and fresh herbs. Mix well, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes. Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled.

BUGHLAMA
(Georgian Lamb with Eggplant)


Here we have a stew that resembles the hot-pots of the upper Midwest, in that the ingredients are layered, rather than mixed all together.
     I suspect that chicken stock was included by the author because it’s more readily available in North America. I made it with lamb stock, instead.


2 large onions, sliced     
4-5 potatoes, quartered
1 lb leg of lamb, cut in small pieces
2 lbs tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
2-3 Japanese eggplants, sliced
2 green peppers, seeded and sliced     
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, chopped     
¾ cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves     
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven, arrange a layer of onion, then layers of lamb, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, green pepper, and cilantro. While layering, place the garlic pieces and bay leaves in among the vegetables and meat. Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cover tightly and simmer for 2 hours. Do not open the lid or stir while cooking. Bring the Dutch oven directly to the tale and serve.

As with many other Georgian stews, bread is the best accompaniment. I chose Georgian Spice Bread (see above), which made a nice pairing.

SHEMTSVARI TSITSILA SUNELEBSHI
(Georgian Game Hens in Herb Sauce)


There’s no reason to not make this dish with regular chicken, if you prefer. If so, adjust the other ingredients to the weight of the bird.

2 game hens     
¾ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup sour cream     
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp powdered marigold     
1 tsp dried coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon     
¼ tsp black pepper
Salt to taste     
Cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F. Roast the game hens for 35-40 minutes, basting often. Cut into serving pieces. Prepare the sauce by mixing the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, spices and salt together. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin the sauce if necessary.

Put the pieces of game hen (or chicken) into a shallow bowl and pour the herb sauce over it. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.





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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 12 March 2018 at 08:57
Originally posted by Brook Brook wrote:

What confuses me is the "shape into horseshoes or coils." I don't know how that can be done with an 8" sausage link. Coils are usually made using the whole casing---or a significant part of it---without separating the sausage into links. In fact, left to its own devices, the sausage will naturally form such a coil as it comes off the filling machine.

I've no idea what the horseshoe shape would be. I get a mental picture of an open U. But don't know how you would shape that, or why.


I am thinking - just a guess - that each "horseshoe" is composed of two links, each of 8 inches. If this is true, then the links are cut off two at a time and then shaped thusly.

I've seen this before, quite a few times, and it would seem to fit the description, unless I am missing something.

That sausage looks great, by the way - another one that I would have to add to my list.

Very good recipes all, Brook - The final recipe, Shemtsvari Tsitsila Sunelebshi, might find its way onto our menu this week, as we had been planning an herb-roasted chicken and this would fit in just as well - actually better! One question about ingredients for this: with no powdered marigold on had, I am thinking that I can substitute with Khmeli-Suneli. What say you?

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 13 March 2018 at 11:24
Given the other spices, Ron, I would cut back the Khmeli-Suneli to only about a half teaspoon. Or just leave out the marigold altogether; it'll still be flavorfull.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 13 March 2018 at 11:39
Sounds like a plan, Brook - thanks!

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Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 14 March 2018 at 08:26
Brook - for the Shemtsvari Tsitsila Sunelebshi: using a "regular-sized" chicken, would you recommend doubling the ingredients, or is that a bit much? I was thinking perhaps 1.5x the recipe, rather than doubling...but that might not be enough.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 14 March 2018 at 11:18
No, I would double it, Ron. Figure even the larger sized game hens would still be only 1 1/2 lbs.

Don't know what regular sized actually means. Most store-bought chickens, nowadays, run roughly 3-5 lbs.


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 14 March 2018 at 11:21
>>>Most store-bought chickens, nowadays, run roughly 3-5 lbs.<<<

Yep, and the one we have in the refrigerator runs right toward the higher end of that. I'd say; maybe 4.5.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 11:11
Sooooo, maybe triple the sauce ingredients?

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 15 March 2018 at 11:22
Math was never my strong suit....

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Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 28 March 2018 at 12:08
Originally posted by Brook Brook wrote:

SHEMTSVARI TSITSILA SUNELEBSHI
(Georgian Game Hens in Herb Sauce)

There’s no reason to not make this dish with regular chicken, if you prefer. If so, adjust the other ingredients to the weight of the bird.

2 game hens     
¾ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup sour cream     
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp powdered marigold     
1 tsp dried coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon     
¼ tsp black pepper
Salt to taste     
Cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 400F. Roast the game hens for 35-40 minutes, basting often. Cut into serving pieces. Prepare the sauce by mixing the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, spices and salt together. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin the sauce if necessary.

Put the pieces of game hen (or chicken) into a shallow bowl and pour the herb sauce over it. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.


We were able to try this last night, with a couple of minor substitutions:

Instead of game hens, we roasted one whole roasting chicken, with nothing but basic seasonings and a little occasional basting, now and then.

Instead of cilantro, we garnished with a little parsley and chives.

We did not have any powdered marigold, so we substituted with Georgia's quintessential spice mix, Khmeli-Suneli; recipe can be found here:

http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=4946&PID=38519&title=georgia-on-my-mind#38519

The ingredients for this recipe, other than the poultry and the garnish, make up a sauce for the chicken. After consulting a bit with Brook, I decided to double the sauce recipe due to the fact that a chicken is bigger than two game hens. An important exception to the doubling of the sauce was the Khmeli-Suneli, which I left at the original amount; in effect, if one uses Khmeli-Suneli as a substitute for powdered marigold, use half the amount of Khmeli-Suneli that you would use if using powdered marigold, to keep things in balance.

This recipe was very easy to prepare, as you can see. When the chicken was just about finished, we prepared the sauce, which was reminiscent of (but completely unique from) Greek tzatziki; it reminded me of a combination of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing and tzatziki, but I must stress that it has its own flavor, completely independent from either of these condiments.

And what flavor! It was really tasty, fresh and memorable - simply outstanding. It went perfectly with the chicken, but I could easily see it being used for other applications, as well. We had some sauce left over, so I put it in a small container into the refrigerator, and will see what else it will work well with; off the top of my head, I think that it would be wonderful for almost any fish, lamb and probably grilled venison.

I can easily recommend this recipe, either as written or with the slight modifications that I made. I am confident that any who try this will enjoy it, very much, and plan to prepare it again.

Ron

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 28 March 2018 at 13:20
Glad it worked out for you, Ron.

You're right that it's simplicity itself to prepare, and flavorful as all get out.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 02 May 2018 at 11:55
Brook - I thought you might like this; a friend from France who is living in Ukraine posted this photo:



When I correctly identified the dish as a type of Georgian dumpling that I've read about, he said, "Exactly; here this would be called 'Kavkaz Xinkali and Smetana....' I prefer the Caucasus version and eat them with Ukrainian sour cream, like varenikis."

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 02 May 2018 at 15:44
Looks like a variation of Khinkali, Ron. And, allowing for differences in spelling (note the X vs KH) that, indeed, is what it is.

Look close and you can see the pleats that seal the dumpling. In some place, instead of leaving a "handle", they push the twisted knob of dough down into the dumpling. That appears to be the case here.

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 03 May 2018 at 03:44

Brook, Historic Foodie,    

The beet, leek and spinach patès sound wonderful .. and would be quite lovely with crudities surely and some great Grossini bread sticks ..  

Thank you for posting such an exemplary feature on Georgian Cuisine .. 


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Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 February 2019 at 12:57
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:



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.

I've finally gotten around to this and have ordered dried sour plums and a bottle of ready made green tkemali sauce from Bezos and Khmeli-suneli from World Spice Mkt.  I've seen more complicated  recipes for this sauce than the one posted above but I am really wanting the most authentic (whatever that means) of them.  Will this simple recipe do? 


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 16 February 2019 at 17:52
All I can say, G-man, is that it's the one I used.  I suspect there are numerous "authentic" versions.

That said, the above recipe came from the Foods of the World series. And you know how I feel about those.  However, better recipes I have call for whole (that is, not dry) plums, which are unavailable to me.  F'rinstance, from "The Georgian Feast:" 

1 1/2 lbs plums (not too sweet or ripe)
11/4 cup water
3/4 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp fennel seed
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbls finely minced fresh mint
1/3 cup finely minced cilantro

It's been on my to-do list to try reconstituting the dried plums and using this recipe. Just haven't found the time.  

The long and the short of it: As with most traditional condiments, there are household-to-household, and cook to cook, differences.  But every one of them is right.  


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 16 February 2019 at 19:21
I guess what I mean by "authentic" is something that hasn't been westernized.  Something that would be served in the region it originates from.  I suspect the simplest recipe is what I'm after.  I ordered the ready made stuff as a comparison.

I must admit, I'm excited by the whole Georgian concept.  I've been immersing myself in it and can hardly wait to begin.

I knew this would happen when this thread began but as my sainted Mither would say "Big body's move slow"  Excellent thread!  And thanks for the new recipe!


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 17 February 2019 at 07:01
I think you'll enjoy Georgian food, G-man.  I hate the use the word "unique," cuz very little is. But, overall, Georgian cuisine comes close.

Plus, as should be obvious, I'm fascinated by a people whose national identity is found in their foodways. I don't know of another culture for which that's true.  


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 20 February 2019 at 20:39
This hole runs deep!  I've been occupying myself with reading everything I can find online.  A dangerous thing for someone like me.  The more I learn, the more ingredients I must track down and order.  Herbs, spices and books have begun to appear on my doorstep.  Even an heirloom culture is on the way so I may culture matsoni yogurt.  And liquid rennet is coming so I can make Imeretian cheese, and from that, Sulguni cheese.   Wow! One Georgian cheese made from another.  

I haven't gone down a rabbit hole this deep since Ethiopian food.  I didn't know a thing about that when I started, but I had at least tasted it in Ethiopian restaurants.  I don't know a darned thing about the cuisine of Georgia. But I'm learning. In short, I'm having a blast.






Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 21 February 2019 at 01:18


Good luck Gracoman. 

Fascinating Project.   


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Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 21 February 2019 at 09:00
I know that you're going to love this journey, gMan - I was only able to dip my toe into the pool a little when I tried the Shemtsvari Tsitsila Sunelebshi, but it was simply wonderful, and I plan to enter the water more, this year.

Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 21 February 2019 at 17:52
Herbs and spices can get expensive.  Especially when several are required for a mix or blend.  For that reason, I'll usually go with a pre-made blend if I don't have most components on hand. 

Georgian specific ingredients tend to be on the upper end of the price scale and sold in rather small quantities. Many have been pre-ground and freshness becomes suspect.  I've found some Georgian imports sealed in mylar which helps but ground is ground.  Others, like coriander fer-instance can be found most places but these other ingredients are not going to be found in any grocery stores or even online Spice houses. 

I've read Thai basil is closest to the purple basil used in many Georgian dishes (except when green is used) but that can also be difficult to find. 

The best place I've found for a decent number of ingredients is the http://www.bazaarspices.com/georgian-spices/georgian-spice-bundle-977-detail - Georgian Deluxe Spice Bundle which includes:
-Dry Adjika
-Georgian Red Pepper
-A house take on Khmeli-Suneli
-Utsho Suneli (blue fenugreek)
-Marigold (Georgian saffron)
-Svanetian Salt
-Georgian Coriander
$41.00

There is a shipping delay as they await blue fenugreek restock.







 


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 21 February 2019 at 18:17
That's a good hit, G-man.  Wish I had known about that company when I was doing my exploration.

You're right that Georgian spices seem to be on the high side of the scale.  But, as you experiment with recipes, you'll find that you don't use much of any of them at any one time. So they stretch pretty far.  I had shared both the khmeli-suneli and svanuri salt with several other members, when doing the project, and never felt the loss.  I'm still using both of them.

Of course, ordering special herbs and spices for many of my global explorations, has always been expensive.  But what can you do?  These are often the ones that distinguish the cuisine, so you have to bite the bullet.

The blue fenugreek is always difficult to come by.  If you get it, fine. If not, regular fenugreek can sub, but start by cutting the amount in half. Standard fenugreek is much stronger. 

I would add summer savory to that list.  It's absolutely required in Georgian cookery.  With that addition you should have things pretty well covered. 

A note on the marigold: There seems to be some confusion as to whether the marigold used in Georgian cooking is regular marigold, or pot marigold.  The latter is actually calendula.  Either of them works.  I used calendula because its something I always have on hand for other purposes.  It's easy to grow, btw, if you want to go that route.  

Georgian purple basil and Thai basil are, I'm convinced, the same plant. Or near enough to each other to make no never mind. 

I'm looking forward to your journey, and sharing it with you

 






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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 21 February 2019 at 18:19
BTW, you mention that books have started to arrive.  What titles did you order?

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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 21 February 2019 at 19:45
I have in my possession Carla Capalbo's Tasting Georgia. A gorgeous book but I'm not sure I like her personal "takes" on recipes.  Still awaiting Goldstein's The Georgian Feast. These two will keep me busy for a few days.  I may or may not expand.  I'm getting antsy and there is a lot of excellent information available on the internet which, as far as I can tell, hasn't been personalized.  The more you read the easier it is to find the BS.

For example, Georgians insist traditional wet red adjika contains no tomatoes.  Carla Capalbo's recipe does.  I forget what she says about green adjika.  That said, the book is fantastic and not all of the recipes have been adulterated.

Yes, I bought http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DWF2LGR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 - French marigold which is correct,  I suppose.  I've seen recipes that require tablespoons of the stuff

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XDP5KV6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 - Blue fenugreek "arrived" in an empty envelope today.  I was refunded and then I reordered. 

I have a boatload of standard fenugreek seeds.  It's cheap and plentiful.  Never been to an Asian or Indian mkt that didn't have it. I use it when home curing and smoking bacon.  It adds a wonderful maple flavor without dealing with the syrup.


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 21 February 2019 at 19:47
Yes, summer savory.  But that is one of those things that is available everywhere.   Not a special order.


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 22 February 2019 at 06:34
You're starting to sound like those celebrity chefs. Ya know: "Available in any market..."  Yeah, well, maybe any market in New York.  But not, necessarily in smaller cities and towns.

Unless I grow it myself, f'rinstance, summer savory isn't available.  I know McCormick used to bottle it. Maybe they still do? But it's not something found on the shelves 'round here. 

Fortunately, it's easy to grow.  The timing wasn't right for that when I did the major study, though, so I mail-ordered it.  Given what I spent on the other stuff it was merely an incremental cost.  

Frankly, when not concerned with authenticity, I generally prefer winter savory. It's got a much better depth of flavor. Plus, like basil, summer savory changes flavor when dried, whereas the winter variety doesn't.  But, as the old saying has it, when in Georgia........Wink


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 22 February 2019 at 06:53
I agree, "Tasting Georgia" is drop-dead gorgeous.  I don't fully agree with you about the recipes, though. When you compare the "takes" to more traditional versions, it's more of an interpretation than a change. 

Overall, though, it's important to remember that the book is more of a travelogue with recipes than an actual cookbook in the traditional sense.

"The Georgian Feast" is pretty much the basic resource. Unfortunately, it didn't get the attention it deserved when first published. But here it is, a quarter century later, and it's still in print.

"Supra" is on my wish list. It was just coming out when I started the Georgian exploration. I got to read excerpts from it, but not the whole book.  I've wanted it since it was published, but, what with other projects, the budget only stretches so far. 

Interestingly, I see that there already are used copies available. So, maybe.......

As you're discovering, for an "unknown" cuisine, there is an incredible amount of information available.  






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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 23 February 2019 at 10:36
Sometimes when I write a response or post something new on this board, it disappears when I hit the "Post Reply" button.  I'd learned to copy it before posting but had forgotten about the problem.  This happened yesterday morning to a long response.  Frustrated, I gave up.  Not the first time and probably not the last.

I did look at "Supra" and decided to order it since my copy of "The Georgian Feast" has been so slow to arrive.  In fact, almost everything Georgian I've ordered has been slow in coming.  Dried sour plums just showed up yesterday along with wild dried barberries. Who knows where my Tkemali is?  This reminds me of ordering out of catalogues in my younger years.  Fill out the catalogue order check list and pop it in the mail and the waiting game will now begin.  Amazon Prime has spoiled me.

"Supra" will arrive tomorrow.  If the universe is properly aligned, so will my copy of "The Georgian Feast".

The Ketsi

The ketsi, a frying/baking/serving pan, "is made out of two different materials as people of Guria cut them out of a stone, while mountainous villages of Imereti – Shrosha, Makatubani and Satsamleti create Ketsi with the oldest clay technology. Stone and clay pans differ in sizes and thermoregulation systems." --Borjomi Georgian Gastro Guide

http://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Traditional-Georgian-Ceramic-Roasting/dp/B00ZWVBK6A/ref=pd_sbs_79_1/141-7096268-5409446?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00ZWVBK6A&pd_rd_r=c93837c1-378a-11e9-8312-0512c21cbfc4&pd_rd_w=jqzw0&pd_rd_wg=XhH05&pf_rd_p=588939de-d3f8-42f1-a3d8-d556eae5797d&pf_rd_r=VCTYSA1N7P6KTBV8SATB&psc=1&refRID=VCTYSA1N7P6KTBV8SATB - Red clay Ketsi   I'm trying hard not to order one of these.  I love handmade clay cookware


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 26 February 2019 at 09:12
A note on spices.  Something I forget, from time to time, until a purchase smacks me in the face. This time it was Khmeli Suneli.

I ordered this spice blend from 2 different vendors.  One ground from an online source, another from a spice house I have done business with before.  World Spice Merchants. 

The pre-ground Khmeli Suneli arrived first.  Having no experience with this mix, I unscrewed the cap, removed the foil vacuum barrier for a quick whiff.  Very nice!  Things are looking up.

2 days later the World Spice Merchant's take on Khmeli Suneli arrived.  I ordered it whole, not ground. It arrived in a plastic bubble wrap lined manila envelope.  Unopened, I could smell it at arms length.  Opened, the spice mix was sealed inside another plastic bag.  Taking it out the fragrance filled an entire room.  I triple wrapped the plastic bag with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil because the plastic wrap wasn't enough.  Quite extraordinary.

The moral of this story is, always buy the best spices you can afford.  I've always had better luck with dedicated spice houses.  Especially the WSM. 





Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 26 February 2019 at 09:18
Following along and looking forward to how things turn out. I was lucky enough to get a couple of those spice blends from Brook and yes, they do smell amazing!


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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 02 March 2019 at 11:58
http://www.russianfoodusa.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1 - Another ingredient source

The clay pot is a dedicated yogurt pot.  Clay has 3 advantages when making yogurt at home.  It is porous an allows moisture to evaporate making for a thicker end product.  If you further dedicate a clay pot by using only one culture, that living culture will embed itself in the porous clay and culture other batches without a starter.  Finally, clay pot yogurt just plain tastes better.

This pot is for Georgian Matsoni yogurt.  Pronounced matzoon, matsoni is a mesophilic culture which cultures at 70-78ºF so no yogurt maker required.  It is also an heirloom culture so we can use a small amount of our last batch as a starter for the next batch.  1 tsp finished yogurt to 1 cup whole pasteurized milk does it.  A max of 2 qts can be cultured at one time.

https://imageshack.com/i/poHMBqKZj">

Almost forgot an important ingredient
https://imageshack.com/i/pmgJeNGOj">

Gotta love this logo
https://imageshack.com/i/pmcyYWMVj">


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 02 March 2019 at 17:25
Looks like you're on your way, G-man.  

Have you had a chance to look through Supra? What do you think as compared to the other two?


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 02 March 2019 at 19:05
"Supra", as I'm sure you are aware, was written by Tiko Tuskadze, native Georgian and owner of London's Little Georgia Cafe. It is excellent. I love the personal family anecdotes that are peppered throughout.  The photography is outstanding.  But what I like most about the book is the recipes.

This book touches on the stars of Georgian cusine recipes but mostly relies on other, not as well known dishes.  Tico writes about what a hard sell Matzvnis (sour cream soup) was in the cafe until a few more adventurous customers  tried it.  Now it is asked for regularly, even when not on the menu.

Other recipe examples include Bebia's Supi (Tiko's grandmothers soup)
Akhali Kartophili  (New potatoes with chili and herbs)
Kotnis Lobio ( Fragrant rose coco beans)
Pomidori Kverzkhit (Baked tomatoes and eggs)
Kartophilis Chashushuli (Spiced potato and egg stew)
Khajos Namzxvari ( Cottage cheese cake with apricot) Not a cheese cake, but a cake made with cotage cheese

You get the idea. 

There is one problem with this book.  It is poorly manufactured.  My copy's binding as already in trouble and I'm not sure how long the book will stay together.


Posted By: Wannabebwana
Date Posted: 02 March 2019 at 19:35
What a great thread!

When I was in Ukraine with Slavyanka we went to a Georgian restaurant in her home city. The names of the sauces escapes me but we had some traditional bread, a cheese platter and a meat platter, ground meat pressed into kabobs and grilled. All with a nice local red wine from a monastery.

We’ve already booked tickets to go to Ukraine this summer. I’ll definitely hit this place again.

Here are some pics.







Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 03 March 2019 at 08:52
Wanabebewana, 

Wow !!  Definitely quite a feast of  Specialties. 

Love the bread !  Phenomenal ..  

Wonderful photography too  !  


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Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 04 March 2019 at 07:17
First things first.

Activating the heirloom Matsoni yogurt culture. This, and the regular culturing, is normally done at room temperature but we dropped below zero so I set my bread proofer set at 76ºF for added insurance.  The activation can take as long as 48hrs and from what I'm seeing my culture will need every bit of that time.

https://imageshack.com/i/pow2XvYdj">

With the top on
https://imageshack.com/i/plJU1ArYj">

My first Georgian dish got a late start and I was a little disorganized. I had planned on cooking this on my grill but below freezing temps and snow changed my mind. Also, I didn't make ajika, didn't make the Gomi ("polenta and cheese" accompaniment ) and forgot the Tkemeli. All work and no play make gracoman a dull boy. 

Sakonlis Khorzis Kharcho (Spiced Beef And Walnut Stew) is a classic Georgian dish. Most kharcho I've seen are soups but this recipe, taken from 'Supra", makes a stew.  Walnuts and egg yolks are added to the sauce making it especially rich. The author describes this dish as Georgia on a plate which is why I began here.

Making the walnut sauce. Photo was taken before spices were added.  This is what we would call walnut butter.
https://imageshack.com/i/pmesqMcZj">

Spiced Beef And Walnut Stew simmering in an unglazed clay pot.  Pic was taken after the heavily spiced walnut butter was added.

Plated over rice (yeah, I forgot to make the gomi)
https://imageshack.com/i/pmh681gYj">

If you look carefully, you will see a dusting of cayenne.  Best I could do under the circumstances.  Next time sauces will be made first so I don't run out of time.
https://imageshack.com/i/pmw2Iln8j">

The recipe I used was taken directly from the book "Supra".  It is copyrighted material so I don't know if I'm allowed to post it here.  




Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 March 2019 at 07:19
That would be khachapuri, Margi,  the iconic cheese bread of Georgia.  It's almost always made in that shape, or variations of it.  But, whether round, oval, boat-shaped, or what-have-you, it always has those "handles" extending from two sides.

IMO, the best khachapuri are made in a clay ketsi over an open fire, which imparts a slightly smoky flavor to the bread.

The bread is filled with a fresh, slightly sour, cheese.  Several types are used in Georgia, none of which are available in the U.S or EU.  Farmer's cheese makes a good substitute. Or see my notes and comments on this near the beginning of the thread. The mixture I came up with may not be authentic, but it works well and tastes great.


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 March 2019 at 07:36
For a forgetful old man it came out looking pretty good, G-man. :>)

Where did you get the Matsoni culture? When I ordered it, it was only available as part of a 3-yogurt kit, and I wasn't interested in the other two.  


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But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 04 March 2019 at 08:04
The Matsoni was part of a 4 part culture kit. Each culture come with a back up for a total of 8 culture packets.  I wasn't much interested it the others myself but supposedly I can place them in my freezer for long term storage for when that itch needs scratching  If ever.
https://imageshack.com/i/pnwBLTHdj">  

I appreciate the back ups that came with these cultures.  I've killed off more sourdough starters than I care to admit.  The Matsoni yogurt culture will probably (ugh, who am I kidding) definitely suffer the same fate.



Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 04 March 2019 at 09:37
Excellent so far, g- wonderful photos!

I was able to try one of the "other three" cultures, and plan to try another. They fit in perfectly with my explorations of Scandinavian foodways. One day, I must try the Matsoni, as well.


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Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 04 March 2019 at 13:08


Thank you Brook for all the details on the Georgian Traditional Bread.  Definitely sounds wonderful.  

We do not have Farmer´s  Cheese in  Spain however, we do have Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukranian and  Georgian Cheeses !!    

The post states the bread was served in a Georgian Restaurant in The Ukraine ..     

Maybe one day I shall embark on such a Project !  or make a trip to the Ukraine, Kiev in particular  and  Georgia  !     

I have some French Pastry Chef contacts in Kiev who teach bread baking and pastry making .. I shall ask them ..   










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Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.


Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 05 March 2019 at 05:34
Whoops! I meant 4-yogurt kit. The same one you ordered.

I even had some email exchanges with the Cultures For Health people, trying to persuade them to offer the Matsoni by itself. But no joy.  Apparently, they don't believe there's a big enough market for it. 

Margi, are you sure about having Georgian cheeses available?  My understanding is that Georgian dairy products cannot be exported to the U.S. or EU.


-------------
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 05 March 2019 at 06:57
http://www.russianfoodusa.com/suluguni/ - Sulguni cheese , Georgian mozzarella,  is available in Russian mkts.  I don't know the source although the cheese in the link is distributed by Georgian Products Co.  May not be raw milk cheese or from cows/sheep grazing in Georgia but knowledge like that is above my pay grade.  I believe it is also sold in at least one Russian mkt near me.

Imeretian cheese, however, is another story.  It may be sold in one of my local Russian mkts but I haven't gotten that far yet.  Both seem easy enough to make at home so I will probably try that just for grins and giggles.  No cheese press required.




Posted By: Wannabebwana
Date Posted: 05 March 2019 at 07:05
We buy farmers cheese at the Russian market. It is made by Elwest Cheese, Brampton Ontario Canada.


Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 05 March 2019 at 08:07
Matsoni activation was a success after 48hrs. 

1st qt of Matsoni yogurt is playing in my dedicated clay yogurt pot.  Proofer is set at 77ºF.  Should be done in 12-18 hrs

https://imageshack.com/i/pnFye6hEj">


Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 05 March 2019 at 08:31
Looking great, so far - I'm really liking that clay pot. I've wanted one for quite a while, ever since I saw this one:



I need to just get off my duff and get one!

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 05 March 2019 at 16:24
I got mine http://ancientcookware.com/indian/indian-clay-yogurt-pot-detail - here.

Stuff is a little pricey but it's all high quality. 



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