Georgian Lobiani (Kidney Bean Bread)

Since in my last post I was chatting away about Georgia and Eurovision, let's chat about it some more. Since now Eurovision 2014 has been broadcast live around the world from the beautiful city of Copenhagen. Sadly, Georgia's entry this year was a little bit too 'unusual' to do very well, and didn't even make it through to the finals. They've never had an entry as their first every entry (Sopho! I loved her!), so we don't need to talk about their entry. But I will mention this year's winner, Conchitta Wurst, because I'm so happy for her right now. Here she is:

I think she is absolutely beautiful, what a stunner! She took Eurovision by storm with her Bond-style ballad "Rise Like a Phoenix". Her inclusion was somewhat controversial, as it was heavily opposed by conservatives Russia, Armerna and Belarus. But she took every piece of criticism and vitriol with elegance and good grace and behaved so much better than all those who abused her. Wonderfully, so many other countries in Europe rallied around to support her, giving her a clear win on the night. I wouldn't say that it was necessarily the best song of the night, but further proof that the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 is not really about the songs, but about the politics and it was wonderful to see most of Europe rally around and show their support for this exquisite 'gender neutral' drag queen. 

Congratulations Conchitta on your amazing win and I'm looking forward to seeing you again in Vienna in 2015. 

Enough about Eurovision until next year, when I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again about it :) 
Continuing in the Georgian theme, here is another delicious dish - also featuring kidney beans! It's a pan fried flatbread filled with kidney beans, but really has the potential to be filled with whatever you like. My partner keeps asking me to make him one filled with "pizza" (i.e. tomato paste, pizza toppings and gooey cheese). It really does have a lot of potential.

Georgian Lobiani (Kidney Bean Bread)

1 cup kidney beans, soaked for 48 hours
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp vegan margarine
500g plain flour
14g dried yeast
1/4 tsp salt
200ml warm water

To Make
1. Drain the soaked beans, place in a saucepan and cover with plenty of water and the bay leaves. Boil for 45-60 minutes, or until cooked through. When cooked remove the bay leaves and then drain and transfer to a bowl. While still hot add the crushed garlic and the margarine. Mash up until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. I left my beans a little chunky but you can make them as smooth as you like.
2. Mix the yeast with the warm water and set aside for 10 minutes, until frothy. Combine 400g flour, salt and yeast mixture in a bowl. Mix by hand until you form a smooth dough, you may need to add more flour if it is too sticky (it shouldn't be sticking to your hands as you knead) or more water if it is too dry (not able to come together in a smooth ball). Place in an oiled mixing bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour to rise. 
3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining 100g flour. Knead until you have a firm dough. Divide into 2 equal parts and form each into a ball. Flatten each ball out with your fingers (or a rolling pin) to make a 1cm thick circular disk. 
4. Place half of the bean mixture in the middle of each disk. Wrap the edges of the dough around the bean mix and pinch the edges together to seal it in (be careful not to trap any air inside as you do this). Gently flatten out the ball of dough, spreading the bean mixture inside as you do so. You'll end up with two flat disks 2-3cm thick.
5. Gently score the top of each one with a knife. Heat a non stick pan on a medium heat and cook each lobiani for 5-7 minutes on each side, they should be just slightly golden but still pale. Remove from the pan and brush immediately with a little vegan margarine. Serve immediately. Allowing them to cool down and then reheating them can cause them to go very hard and crunchy (which isn't always a bad thing, but not what you're going for!).

Makes 2.

This month I'm featuring recipes from Georgia.
Check out my other Georgian recipe posts:

I entered this dish into the Vegan Virtual Linky Potluck.

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