Georgian Lobio (Bean Stew)

Georgian Entree

LOBIO
(Bean Stew)

INGREDIENTS

1 pound dried red kidney beans*
6 cups water
8 cups water
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
⅓ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup walnut halves
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon ground fenugreek**
1½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses or juice
¾ teaspoon pepper

* = Red kidney beans MUST be properly boiled. Eating kidney beans that haven’t been boiled for 10 minutes can make you quite sick. They’re quite safe and tasty once sufficiently boiled them. Discard the water used to soak the beans.
** = To be authentic, this recipe should use blue fenugreek. It’s widely available in its native country and extremely difficult to find elsewhere. Please let me know if you discover a source. Thank you.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

spice grinder
potato masher

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 20 minutes 24 hours to soak beans.

PREPARATION

Add red kidney beans and 6 cups water to large pot. Let sit for 24 hours.

Drain beans. Add 8 cups water, beans, bay leaves, and salt to large pot. Bring water to boil using high heat. Boil for 12 minutes. Stir enough to keep beans from burning. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 1 hour 40 minutes or until beans become tender. (They really must tender.) Check pot every 10 minutes and add 1 cup water, if needed, to keep at least 1½ cups of liquid in the pot. Stir enough to keep beans from burning. Drain water, saving 1½ cups liquid for later use.

While beans cook, dice garlic, and onion. Mince cilantro. Grind walnut halves in spice grinder until you get walnut powder. Add garlic, onion, and olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add fenugreek, cilantro, and walnut powder. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 minute or until mixture becomes fragrant.

Add beans and reserved 1½ cups liquid to large pot. Mash beans with potato masher until only ¼th of the beans remain whole. Stir with spoon until thoroughly blended and the beans and water achieve the consistency of a thick stew.

Add garlic/onion/walnut mixture, pomegranate molasses, and pepper to beans in large pot. Mix with spoon until well blended. Cook at medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove bay leaves and serve hot.

TIDBITS

1) Desperadoes, bandits, and gunslingers terrorized the Old West.

2) Everyone’s heard of Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and the Dalton Gang.

3) But no one knows anything the greatest outlaw of them all. Giorgi Beridze.

4) Beridze terrorized the Great Western Ailroad, GWA, from 1869 to 1875.

5) It should have been called the Great Western Railroad, But the typesetter made a mistake when publicizing the railroad’s inaugural run. Thereafter, passengers called it Typo Road. Many, however, figured Ailroad to be a startling bit of honesty from GWA’s president.

6) Anyway, Mr. Beridze who has been waiting patiently since Tidbit 1 to have his exploits related to recipe-reading world, so disrupted Great Western’s schedules that the company thought it was about to go under.

7) Then on May 10, 1875, Beridze’s Gang’s raided one last time. The outlaws swarmed the train as it huffed its way to the top of Willow Summit, Texas. They expertly and efficiently rounded up all the train’s employees. The bad men forced the conductor to open the doors to the baggage car.

8) In swarmed Hercules Smith. This desperado grunted as he hurled one heavy sack after another to men waiting on the ground. Down to the hard ground fell the bandits below. Sure they caught the sacks, but the savvy railroad had filled the bags with anvils. Irate passengers quickly overwhelmed the lone anvil tosser. A scant hour late, lawmen easily rounded up the concussed Beridze and gang. Judge Noah Moore sentenced Beridze to hang.

9) His jailers asked Beridze what he wanted for his last meal. He requested this dish, Lobio. His jailers road off to find the ingredients: red kidney beans, water, bay leaves, salt, garlic cloves, cilantro, walnuts, olive oil, blue fenugreek, pomegranate molasses, and pepper. A number of those fixings proved impossible to find in 1875 Texas. They had to travel to Beridze’s home country, Georgia. Beridze’s buddies busted him out two months before the jailers returned.

10) Beridze, now anvil shy, fled the country. Embarrassed GWA officials decided the best thing to do was to hush up the whole affair. That’s why we never hear about the daring Beridze.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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