BW's Treefort 2019 Playlist: Snacking on Khachapuri With Chef Bonnie Morales 

click to enlarge LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
Khachapuri, a cheese-stuffed bread dish that's a bit like an Italian strombolli, is to the Eastern European country of Georgia what ramen is to Japan: an iconic dish that the nation perhaps could not, and definitely would not, live without.

click to enlarge LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
"[Khachapuri] is so important to the culture there that they use something called the Khachapuri Index in measuring the economy, that's how important it is," visiting Foodfort chef Bonnie Morales told an intimate group in the basement of the Basque Center March 22, where she and her husband, Israel, were set to demonstrate making khachapuri. "What that means is they take the basic ingredients that it takes to make khacahpuri and how much those cost, and that is that index. And how it fluctuates is a sign of inflation and all of that sort of stuff, which is so powerful to me. I love it."

The dish was pretty simple to make: Morales rolled out enriched dough into circles, added a handful of a pre-made mixture of Georgian sulguni cheese, Bulgarian feta cheese and chopped cilantro; folded the dough over the ingredients into a packet; flipped the packet over and rolled it out again to seal it; and then dropped the whole thing into a frying pan of clarified butter to crisp golden brown. Once each khachapuri browned, Israel ferried them to the oven to finish cooking. Alternately, Morales said home cooks could stop just short of the frying pan and refrigerate or freeze the cheese-stuffed dough.

"Basically you can stock your fridge full of them and then have cheesy snacks forever," she said. 
click to enlarge LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson

click to enlarge LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
The full khachapuri recipe can be found in Morales' 2017 cookbook, Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking. But a good starting place for Boiseans would be the European Delicatessen on Fairview Avenue in Meridian, where Morales bought both of the cheeses for her demo—a high recommendation as she's picky about ingredients.

"Sheep's-milk feta for me is the only kind of feta that exists," she said.

The final khachapuri bites were delicious, with an sharp note from the feta and cilantro balanced by pillowy dough in a crisp, buttery shell. 
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