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Colchis and the Golden Fleece…

In Greek mythology there is a story of an ancient land at the edge of the earth. Here one would find a golden fleece of a winged-ram with golden hair. In the story, Jason and the Argonauts were sent by King Pelias to find this golden fleece. The kindom of Colchis, where this supposed fleece was to be found, was located in the present-day country of Georgia.

 

A Little History:

Early History:

First came the Romans, who were allies with the Georgian empire for over 400 years. After the Roman Empire was gone and the middle ages were upon the world, Georgia was conquered by Arabs of the Khazar Empire, who would reign over the territory from the 7th to the 10th century. Although the Arabs had conquered the capital city of Tbilisi, Kartli-Iberia maintained it’s relative independence. in 813 AD, the prince Ashot I became the first of the Bagrationi family to rule the kingdom. Ashot’s reign began a period of nearly 1,000 years during which the Bagrationi, ruled over the republic.

Around 1089, David IV drove the remaining Turks from the country and expanding the empire, which would bring on what would be known as Georgia’s Golden Age in the 12th and 13th centuries. It was characterized by chivalry, philosophical innovations, as well as new tolerance for religion and ethnicity. Kind David would be forever known as “David the Builder”.

The Russian Empire:

In 1783, Russia and the Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, which among other things promised eastern Georgia protection. Despite this treaty, Russia gave no protection to Georgia when Turks and Persians invaded in 1785 and 1795. In 1801, Russia violated the treaty and annexed eastern Georgia. Russia abolished the Bagrationi dynasty, as well as the reign of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

On December 22, 1800, Tsar Paul I signe a proclamation which would proclaim the Georgia had been incorporated in the Russian Empire. After the Russian Revolution in 1817, Georgia proclaimed it’s independence from Russia. This was followed by a hasty decision to enter a war with British-protected Armenia.

Soviet Union:

In 1921, Georgia was attacked by the Red Army. The capital was seized by the soviet union, and the Georgian Army defeated. Joseph Stalin himself was of Georgian heritage. Almost 700,000 Georgians fought in WWII for the Soviet Union.

Recent History:

On April 9, 1991, Georgia declared it’s independence from the Soviet Union. On May 26, 1991, Zviad Gamsakhurdia was elected as a first President of independent Georgia. He was soon deposed in a bloody coup from December 22, 1991, to January 6, 1992. This would incite civil wars in Georgia which lasted until 1995. To this day, tensions in country and between Georgia and Russia are high.

 

In 2008, Russia and others unleashed a  shelling of Georgian towns around South Ossetia and months-long attacks on Georgian police and peacekeepers, supposedly by South Ossetian militias. Since the war, the disputed areas are still claimed by both Russian and Georgian governments.

The Recipe:

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Today’s recipe is a very simple one. We are going to be making what is known as Khachapuri, which is basically a cheese pie/pastry, made from scratch. It is extremely easy to make, and wonderfully tasty! There will be a ton of cheese in this meal so I do apologize in advance for those of you who are lactose intolerant. The secret ingredient is hard boiled egg….as you will soon see!

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Warm Milk
  • 1 Packet of Active Dry Yeast (7 grams or .25 oz)
  • 3 eggs

Filling:

  • 225g Mozzarella
  • 225g Feta
  • 3 Eggs (hard boiled)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • (1 egg to base the top)

Method:

Our first step is to go ahead and get the dough ready, because it will need time to rest. First, heat up the milk in the microwave on high for about 20-25 seconds, and then add to a large bowl with the yeast. Let this set for about 10 minutes, or until bubbly and frothy.

Now add the flour, sugar, salt and 3 eggs and stir through until well combined. Knead this with your hands or a bread mixer in the bowl for a few minutes. It’s ok if it is a bit sticky at the end. Feel free to add more flour if that makes kneading easier in the bowl. Let this dough rest for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, hard-boil 3 eggs. The easiest way to do this is to put 3 eggs in a saucepan and fill with cold water. Put the water on the stove and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and allow the eggs to cool in the water.

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Once about 15 minutes have elapsed, we can go ahead and prepare the cheese filling. Shred the mozzarella and crumble the feta in a bowl. Chop up the 3 hard-boiled eggs and add the salt and pepper. combine this all evenly.

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Preheat your oven to 220 C (425 F)

Now separate your dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll out 1 piece on a floured surface. It should be about 6-7 inches in diameter and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Place 1/4 of the cheese filling mixture on the top of the rolled out dough.

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Using both your hands, roll up two edges to the center until they are about a 1/2 inch apart. Then roll up the sides as well. Place this on a baking sheet and repeat with the other three pieces.

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Beat 1 egg and then brush onto the 4 khachapuri. Place all 4 in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until done.

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You can enjoy by itself or serve with a side salad or other veggies 🙂

Further Reading:

It’s been too long since we’ve had an awesome cheesy Travel Video!!!!

 

Credits:

We actually combined two recipes to make this dish. The dough and the method was taken from this recipe at Everyday Russian

We made the cheese filling using the egg idea from the first recipe and some of the elements of this recipe here.

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