Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Lobio - kidney beans in plum sauce

lobio - kidney beans in plum sauce
There are many delightful things about Georgian cuisine - the most obvious being khachapuri which I've posted about before.  My second favourite Georgian dish is lobio - kidney beans in plum sauce.  I tried making this a while back, using an attractively straightforward recipe involving plum jam.  It was nice but not like the lobio that you get in a good Georgian restaurant.

So, when I took Claudia Roden's "The Book of Jewish Food" out from the library, one of the first recipes to catch my eye was the one she gives for lobio.  It was amazing.  I think I demolished about 10% of it in the kitchen while supposedly cooking other stuff to go with but actually, mostly, just sneaking bits of lobio.

Mmmm - Lobio
One of the things that's interesting to me about it is that it doesn't really taste of plums.  I am not a huge fan of fruit in savoury food but that doesn't matter for this because what it adds to the flavour is not fruity/sweetness but sourness/depth/something.  

It's actually remarkably straightforward to make as well - definitely something that the Mighty Aubergine household will be returning to.  A warning - like all of the recipes in this book, it makes lots, not that that is a particular problem..

Essentially, you steam a pound of plums until they're soft, then peel and stone them (this is probably the most annoying aspect of the whole recipe), add to a bunch of coriander and whiz in the food processor with some garlic (about 4-5 cloves), chilli powder (about a tea spoon), some lemon juice (to taste but roughly half a lemon's worth).  And of course a bit of salt to taste.

Whizzing plums and coriander

Lobio sauce - post whizzing
And then you add to 500g of cooked kidney beans (either tinned or dried - I prefer the latter but mostly, if I'm honest, because I'm cheap rather than because of some incredible difference that I can perceive in the flavour) and voila - lobio!

You can serve it warm or at room temperature - either is good.  Obviously, it's best eaten with khachapuri but, let's face it, what isn't best eaten with khachapuri?  But you could if - for whatever reason, you don't want to make khachapuri - eat it with bread, rice, or couscous or as part of a general mezze selection.  I am tempted to experiment with using the plum sauce to go with other things...

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