Khachapuri, Georgia’s national dish

Cheese bread, a culinary delight from the Caucasus

Photo: MatPrat
Khachapuri is the Georgian national dish that is catching on all over the world, and our recipe comes to us via our partners at MatPrat, with some adaptations made for the American kitchen. Georgian cheese bread is easy to make and is sure to be a big crowd-pleaser whereever it is served.

Kristi Bissell
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American

As we get to know the country of Georgia in this month’s issue of The Norwegian American, why not to get to know khachapuri, Georgia’s most famous national dish that is taking the world by storm—including Norway. And it’s no wonder—who can resist fresh bread filled with savory cheese and eggs?

The most famous variant of khachapuri is the boat-shaped Adjaruli khachapuri from the province of Adjara. An egg is placed in a depression in the cheese, adding nutrients and giving it a wonderful flavor. The crust of the bread should be torn off and dipped into the warm cheese and egg mixture.

While the shape and ingredients for khachapuri vary from region to region and from chef to chef, it always contains melted cheese, a staple of Georgian cuisine.

Georgians love to eat khachapuri for breakfast or lunch, and you will find this beloved specialty in both restaurants and as street food. Because it’s a staple food in Georgia, the price of making khachapuri is used as a measure of inflation in different Georgian cities by the “khachapuri index,” developed by the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University. There is even a National Khachapuri Day to celebrate Georgia’s signature dish and to promote its recognition internationally.

Most fittingly, our recipe comes to you via Norway from our partners at MatPrat, adapted for the American kitchen.

KHACHAPURI
Georgian Cheese Bread

Adapted from MATPRAT – Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup + 1 tbsp. water
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
*This dough is very similar to American pizza dough, and pre-made varieties may be substituted.

For the topping:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 bag fresh baby spinach (5-6 ounces)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
and/or red pepper flakes
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make the dough: Stir the olive oil and water together in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside. In a large bowl stir together the all-purpose flour, salt, and yeast. Add the olive oil mixture and stir to combine. Knead by hand until smooth, about two minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for about an hour.
  3. Meanwhile make the filling: Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently until wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and/or red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  4. Mix the shredded mozzarella and crumbled feta cheese in a bowl. Set aside.
  5. Divide the dough into four equal parts and transfer to a clean work surface (no need to flour the surface). Roll each piece into an oval about nine inches long. Pinch each end together creating a boat shape. Transfer the dough boats to the prepared baking sheet and prick the dough with a fork. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the boats for five minutes.
  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and distribute the spinach evenly between the boats and top with cheese. Bake for an additional 5–6 minutes.
  7. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and make an indentation in the filling with the back of a spoon. Crack an egg into each hole and season the egg with salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven for an additional 6–9 minutes or until the egg white has set and the yolk is still soft. Serve immediately.

This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.