Eastern Orthodox Easter this year fell on April 15, so I have been relaxing and enjoying a long weekend. My host family does celebrate Easter, but not as robustly as some Georgian families. Traditionally, Easter marks the end of the fast for Lent, and so the Easter supra is quite a big one. We did have a supra, but it wasn’t the biggest one that my host family has had while I’ve been here—the Ninoba supra was far more of an event. From my understanding, it wasn’t determined if we would be hosting the supra or attending another one until mid-afternoon on Easter Sunday. This meant that my host mother had quite a bit of cooking that needed to be done, and not a lot of time to do it in. My host sister was out of the house for part of the afternoon visiting other family members. In short, this meant that I got to help cook! I wasn’t in charge of anything critical—chopping the onions, frosting the cakes, and plating the side dishes, but I got to see some real Georgian cooking. I helped with the lamb and the cakes, so here are some recipes/techniques for them:
Georgian Easter Lamb (chakapuli ჩაქაფული):
Lamb, cubed (we used bone-in)
Preserved sour plums (like the ones used to make tkemali)
First, begin stewing the lamb in the water. When it is mostly cooked through, add in the onions, tarragon, cilantro, and plums. Allow to stew until ready to serve. Make sure there’s bread to mop up the juices!
This recipe is really quite simple and delicious– is tastes like spring–but the key ingredient is preserved sour plums—not sure where you can get such a thing in the US.
Georgian cake frosting:
Although my host mother does bake homemade cakes from scratch on occasion, since she was in a hurry for Easter she bought pre-baked sheet cakes and we added our own frosting. These cakes are far drier than those I’m used to in America, and got moister when we added the frosting. We made two three-layer cakes: one with a carmelly frosting, and one with a plainer frosting topped with chocolate. The technique for making both of our frostings was the same. For the plainer frosting, we mixed a can of (sweetened) condensed milk (сгущёнка–sgushchyonka, yes, that is a Russian word, not a Georgian one) with butter. When the texture didn’t seem quite what she wanted, my host mom added a bit of flour in a paste with hot water to thicken it a tad. For the carmelly frosting, we did the same thing with a can of “boiled concentrated milk” or what I would call dulce de leche (confused my host family telling them the “English” name of that one)