Thursday, February 24, 2011
Lobio - Georgian Bean and Walnut Soup
My mom is a wonderful cook. I think this happens also because of all the amazing recipes she knows from my grandma, who is the top cook in my opinion.
My mom loves special dishes, which blend the ingredients in not-so-obvious combinations. That is why one of her favorite cuisines is Georgian. Generally, Caucasian people have a very tasty food. Georgian cuisine is particularly popular, due to it's diverse character. It is famous for cheese, like suluguni, and cheese pies, khachapuri, various meat dishes, with the most famous - khinkali, a type of meat-filled dumpling and of course multiple appetizers. The flavors vary from very spicy to sweet and satisfy even the most demanding food-lovers.
One of my favorite soups (yes I know, I am supposed not to like soups, but this is changing the last years) is Lobio, a thick soup made with red beans and walnuts. This is exactly a not-so-obvious combination that I was talking about before. Few days ago I was planning to cook a bean soup, however I was a bit bored to cook a typical Greek Fasolada, so I decided to go for Lobio. It was the first time I cooked it for Stratis and, to be honest, I was not sure if he would like this mix. But, luckily, he loved it and I am not surprised. This is a really great example of traditional Georgian food.
500gr red kidney beans
1 cup walnuts, shelled
1 tsp mustard (optional, it eliminates the whatever effects of the beans on your intestines :P )
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced (I like it with a lot of onion, so I use 2 big ones, otherwise you could use 2 medium)
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. Wash the beans very well and soak them overnight. Do not through the soaking water, as it contains a lot of vitamins.
2. In a large pot place the beans together with the soaking water, coriander seeds and mustard if using. Add about 4 more cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and continue cooking until the beans are soft.
3. Meanwhile, in a heavy pan heat the oil and stir-fry the onions, carrot and garlic until the vegetables are soft and lightly golden.
4. Place the walnuts with some water in a blender and process until they form an almost uniform paste with only few pieces of walnuts. Set aside.
5. Place two cups of soft beans from the soup together with 1 cup of the liquid in a blender and process in a smooth paste. Return to the pot.
6. Add the walnut paste, the onion mixture salt and pepper to the pot, mix well and let cook for about 15 minutes. At this stage if your soup is too think add some more water until it reaches the desired consistency.
7. Add all the herbs, season with extra salt and pepper if necessary and cook for few more minutes. Garnish with some fresh coriander and serve immediately.