Everything about Armenian food!

Celebrating a heritage of Armenian recipes


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Orange Pomegranate Lamb Shanks by Christine Datian

While Doug and I are entertaining out-of-town family, Christine Datian has kindly offered to share several of her recipes which are regularly featured in the ‘Recipe Corner’ of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator. 
The first recipe we posted was her ‘Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables’. Today we’re sharing her recipe for ‘Orange Pomegranate Lamb Shanks’, a hearty dish with complex flavors – a real crowd-pleaser!

We hope you’ll enjoy this, while we enjoy our family! See you soon!

Orange Pomegranate Lamb Shanks

Christine Datian’s Orange Pomegranate Lamb Shanks
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

6 -8 large lamb shanks (fat trimmed)
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 medium onions, diced
2 stalks celery and tops, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 leek (white and light-green parts only), diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups red wine or dry white wine (like cabernet or chardonnay)
1 cup low-sodium beef, lamb or vegetable broth
1 cup crushed stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons each tomato paste and honey
1 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, peppercorns, paprika, and dried thyme
1 small orange, peeled, cut in quarters and 1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Kosher or sea salt, Aleppo pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and black pepper (to taste)
2 bay leaves
Pinch of ground cinnamon or allspice
 Olive or canola oil as needed
All-purpose flour

Garnishes: Pomegranate seeds, chopped mint, diced dried apricots and roasted walnuts

 Preparation:
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Toss the lamb shanks in flour and lightly season with salt and pepper to coat on all sides.   In a large Dutch oven, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil and brown lamb shanks on all sides; drain lamb shanks and set aside on a plate or tray.

Add the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, leeks, and bell pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes; return the lamb shanks to the Dutch oven and add the wine, broth,  tomatoes, pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, and honey, and bring to a boil, stirring until all ingredients are combined.

Season with choice of salt, Aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes, and black pepper; add Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, peppercorns, paprika, thyme, orange quarters, orange zest, and rosemary; scatter bay leaves and cinnamon or allspice over lamb shanks, cover, and bake for 2½ hours or until lamb shanks are fork tender.  Check lamb shanks occasionally and baste with the sauce; add extra wine, if necessary.

Remove pan from oven, discard bay leaves, and skim extra fat from the top of the pan.  

Serve lamb shanks and vegetables in deep bowls on a bed of hot egg noodles, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf or bulgur pilaf, and top with extra sauce.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds, mint, diced dried apricots and roasted walnuts to taste.

Note: Pomegranate molasses may be found at most Middle Eastern stores and markets.
*Christine's recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/


*For Christine's recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, go to:  http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables by Christine Vartanian Datian

And now for something completely different, Christine Datian offers us her Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables entrée which appeared in the December 24, 2016 edition of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator newspaper, pg. 16. Christine is always thinking of new and exciting ways to combine everyday ingredients into scrumptious meals.

This is definitely worth a try!
Christine Datian's Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables

Italian Pork Loin with Pasta and Vegetables
by Christine Vartanian Datian
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into medium pieces
1 large white onion, roughly sliced or diced
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 stalks celery and top greens, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
1/4 cup black or Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans Italian-style crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, thyme and marjoram, crumbled
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
Dash of nutmeg
Olive oil, unsalted butter
Fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, about 1/3 cup
1 cup dry white wine
*****
 1 lb. packaged or fresh rigatoni, penne or angel hair pasta (or pasta of choice), cooked and drained

Topping Options: Fresh grated Pecorino, Romano or Parmesan cheese, Fresh basil, crushed red pepper flakes, toasted bread crumbs and pine nuts

Preparation:

Lightly salt and pepper the pork pieces.  In a large pot, brown the pork in olive oil with the garlic; remove pork and the garlic from pot and set aside.  Add the onions, peppers, carrots, celery, and peas to the pot with remaining olive oil and butter, toss, and cook until the onions are caramelized.

Add the pork and garlic back to the pot with the cooked vegetables; add the remaining ingredients (except the parsley and wine) and stir; bring the sauce to a full boil, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for about 1 hour, stirring to ensure the sauce does not stick or burn.  Add the parsley and wine about 15 minutes before serving, and adjust seasonings; continue to cook uncovered for the remaining time.  Remove the bay leaf.

Boil the pasta to taste and drain. 

Serve pasta in bowls and top with the sauce and choice of cheese, basil, red pepper flakes and toasted bread crumbs and pine nuts, if desired.

Note:  This recipe may be made in a large crock pot for all-day cooking.  Repeat steps 1 and 2, brown the pork with the garlic in olive oil, drain and set aside.  Add the vegetables and cook until onions are caramelized; add remaining ingredients (except the parsley and wine) to the crock pot and cook on low heat for 6 hours; stir occasionally until pork and vegetables are tender; add the parsley and wine 30 minutes before serving and adjust seasonings.

*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and
Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

*For Christine’s recipes that have been published in Sunset and Cooking
Light Magazines, go to:   <http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian>
http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Kale and Pearl Barley Soup

Winter came and went in one day in South Florida. It happened on Friday, December 30, 2016, when the temperature barely climbed into the mid - 60’s during the day and dipped into the low 50’s at night
I hear what you’re saying …”She calls THAT winter?!?” Well, that’s how  our winters are. Believe me, I’ve shoveled enough snow during my years in New Jersey, so I delight in the south’s version of this season!

This ‘cold spell’ prompted me to bring out the big pot and make some stick-to-your-ribs soup. I prepared Kale and Pearl Barley Soup to satisfy our tummies and our souls.
Kale and Pearled Barley Soup topped with Crumbled Feta Cheese

Kale and Pearl Barley Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4-6 cups (or more!) chicken broth (Vegetable broth may be substituted.)
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes with its juice
1/2 cup pearled barley (farro or regular barley may be substituted)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups baby kale, washed and chopped (fresh baby spinach or Swiss chard may be substituted)
1 (15.5-oz) can reduced-sodium white beans, drained (such as Northern beans or Cannellini beans)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Garnishes: Crumbled feta or shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat until oil begins to shimmer. Place carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in pan; cook and stir 3 minutes.
Pearled Barley (aka Shelled Wheat or Dzedzadz) is sold in Middle Eastern stores. 
Stir in broth, diced tomatoes with its juice, pearled barley, oregano, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to medium-low and cover; simmer, stirring often, for 35-40 minutes, or until barley begins to soften. (NOTE: Farro and regular barley might take less time to cook.)
Soup in progress
Stir in kale and white beans; cook  another 10–15 minutes or until barley and kale are tender. 
You will have to add more broth as the soup cooks, as the barley will absorb quite a bit of liquid - otherwise this will become Kale and Pearled Barley Stew, which is not a bad thing!
Lemon Zest
Stir in lemon zest and juice.

To serve: Place soup in serving bowls; top with crumbled Feta or Parmesan cheese, if desired.