Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Gouvedge Time!

What do you prepare when you have one pound of cooked lamb in the refrigerator, plus fresh zucchini, frozen Italian pole beans (wide, flat green beans), onions, and garlic?

Gouvedge, of course!
Gouvedge before baking
Gouvedge after baking

A few weeks ago I declared it was douzma season, meaning the outside temperature dropped to a comfortable level, allowing us to finally turn on the oven.
Douzma season means that it’s also gouvedge – baking time. Gouvedge, another one of our favorites is an Armenian-style meat and veggie casserole which, when served with our pilaf of choice, is simply divine!

Here’s what I did:
  • Preheated the oven to 350°F.
  • Coated a rectangular baking pan with a spritz of vegetable spray. Placed about 1 lb. of cooked lamb on the bottom of the pan.
  • Topped the meat with ½ lb. of frozen (not thawed) Italian green beans, 1 large zucchini cut in half length-wise, then cut into ½-inch half circles, 1 sliced onion, and 2 garlic cloves cut into thin slivers.
  • Mixed 1 cup of broth (lamb, chicken, beef, or vegetable) with 1 cup of crushed, canned tomatoes with salt, pepper, ground coriander to taste.
  • Poured the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
  • Covered the pan with foil and baked for 1 hour. Then removed the foil and baked for 1 more hour.
  • While the gouvedge baked, I made bulgur pilaf.
Yield: about 4 servings

NOTES:
1. You don’t have to start with cooked lamb, I just happened to have some. Raw stewing lamb or lamb neck bones with meat attached work really well in this dish. Since gouvedge cooks for 2 hours, the meat should be tender when done. If you use meat on the bone, be very careful while eating this. You don’t want to chomp on any bone bits!

2. Okra, green peppers, and parsley are traditionally added to gouvedge, but I had none on hand. Despite that, it came out pretty darn good!

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