LOBIO. GEORGIA.

LOBIO

-Recipes from the Road.

I made 'Lobio' whilst volunteering at a wine hostel in rural east Georgia. At 'Wine Hostel Sanavardo' Ucha and his family have opened up their home to volunteers and travellers, to share culture and the wine making process. Many traditional supras were held, a word that literally translates as 'tablecloth' but really means a traditional Georgian feast. A supra involves copious amounts of food, wine, cha-cha (a local liquor made from grapes with 55% potency that leaves you shaking in your seat), and long-winded ceremonious toasts. As the supra goes on the toasts move away from traditional discussions about God, peace, those who have passed on, children and new life, and family, to a variety of subjects, each determined by the nominated speaker. Hours into the supra you will find people toasting to beauty, wine, food, math and many more wine fuelled topics that get muddled in mornings memory. Staying at the hostel lead to countless glasses of distinctly delicious white wine (which actually has a golden colour) and many, many elaborate meals. The kitchen table at Sanavardo was a welcome change to our simple rice-and-lentil meals cooked on the petrol stove we carry on our touring bicycles. 

When I began this blog I did not realise how ugly the end product would be. Lobio, a traditional Georgian recipe, similar to Mexican refried beans, may be ugly but it sure is delicious! Packed with protein, cheap and tasty, it can be served as a main meal accompanied with salted cheese, sour cream and bread. Alternatively it could be used as a dip, on tacos, on bread, or inside a wrap. If you want to really mix up the flavours add fresh pomegranate. 

This dish has little preparation but remember to pre soak the beans. I used kidney beans but black beans could work well too. The longer they soak, the more nutritious and the faster they cook. Overnight is best. 

Serves 5.

Ingredients:

3 cups kidney beans (soaked overnight)

6 cloves garlic- there can't ever be too much garlic!

1 big onion

3 bay leaves

For the paste:

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon fenugreek

Large bunch of fresh coriander/ cilantro

Method:

Boil the beans in fresh water until soft (30-45 minutes.) Drain the beans. Smash two thirds to a puree. If you are eating this as a main dish add boiling water so the puree has a creamy consistency.  Mix in the remaining one third of whole beans.

In a large pot or frying pan fry the onions and bayleaves in a generous amount of oil. Fry on low until onions are golden and sweet.

Prepare the herb paste. You can use a food processor or a mortar and pestle. Add to the beans. Mix well and then combine all ingredients in the large pot. 

Garnish with roasted walnuts, coriander/ cilantro, or pomegranate. 

  Nugzar in the family vineyard.

Nugzar in the family vineyard.

  Shepherd with a new-born lamb.

Shepherd with a new-born lamb.

  Traffic jams

Traffic jams

  The neighbour's boy cooks up a mystery dinner.

The neighbour's boy cooks up a mystery dinner.

  Spring has arrived but the Caucasus mountains are still covered in snow. 

Spring has arrived but the Caucasus mountains are still covered in snow. 

  Many meals shared around the kitchen table.

Many meals shared around the kitchen table.

  Horse and carriage in Sanavardo

Horse and carriage in Sanavardo

  The town's vegetable stall. These two only smile when the camera is away! 

The town's vegetable stall. These two only smile when the camera is away!