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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

C.K. Garabed shares some of his Dikranagerdtsi recipes



Some of you might know of C.K.Garabed through his column in the Armenian Weekly, 'from Uncle Garabed's Notebook'.
Others know him as a man of many talents. In fact, there is a host of information about him on www.armeniapedia.org - his biography sheds light on his numerous gifts.
Biography: C. K. Garabed, Actor, Aphorist, Archivist, Chef, Columnist, Commentator, Composer, Critic, Editor, Essayist, Folk Dancer, Inventor, Lecturer, Lexicographer, Painter, Photographer, Playwright, Poet, Political cartoonist, Record Producer, Stand-up Comedian, Vocalist.” (Notice the word 'chef' in bold, red print!)
A project of C.K.'s (currently in progress) is a cookbook, ‘The Dikranagerd Mystique Armenian Cookbook’, which is dedicated to the unique recipes from the region of Dikranagerd. 
Being one-half Dikranagerdtsi myself, this speaks to my heart.

C.K. and his daughter, Lucine, have sent me some of their family favorite recipes to share with you. I’ll be posting them in spurts, so be on the look-out for a few of their Dikranagerdtsi specialties.

Today I'm offering you two of his recipes - chormis - dried, ground lamb, and jenjig, a chormis, kavourma, and egg stew. There’s a BIG catch:  in order to prepare this, you must already have chormis and kavourma on hand. You can purchase a ready-made chormis in most Middle Eastern stores, but kavourma, well, that’s something that must be made at home. Check out Onnik Dinjkian’s recipe for kavourma. (Did I mention that Onnik and C.K. are close, long-time friends?)

Lucky for us, C.K. also sent me his Chormis recipe, just in case you are daring enough to try it. Please note, it isn't quite chormis-making season, although I understand some folks make it year-round and dry it out in the refrigerator.

Chormis or Chormees (literal meaning: dried meat)



Chormis (Dried Ground Lamb) 
Recipe from C.K. Garabed
(Best made around Thanksgiving Day. If possible, purchase leg or shoulder of lamb, and bone and cut into pieces to grind. Use an old hand-cranked meat grinder that has interchangeable grinders, and use the 3 pronged grinder to get kernels of meat.)

Ingredients:
5 lbs. Ground lamb
2 tbsp. Ground cumin
4 tsp. Ground coriander seed
4 tsp. Ground allspice
2 tbsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground hot red pepper
2 tbsp. Ground black pepper
12 cloves crushed garlic
5 muslin bags (6” x 12” w/opening at one end)

Directions:
Add spices to meat and knead thoroughly. Then add crushed garlic and knead again.
Place mixture in bags and press the meat to fill the closed end. Leave two inches at open end to roll with a dowel and tie the ends with string or rubber bands. Take another piece of string and make loops at the ends and slip them over the ends of the dowel. Then hang in a cold outside area. (Space between screen and glass of sliding patio doors is ideal, as it will protect the chormis from animals.)
Meat will dry in two weeks of cold weather. It can continue to be left outdoors so long as the temperature is not freezing. Otherwise it should be stored in a refrigerator.
When cured, chormis can be pan-fried and eaten as an appetizer or with fried eggs, or it can be mixed with other ingredients for various recipes.

And now for Jenjig:
Bowl on left: Chormis; Bowl on right: Kavourma (Photos courtesy of Lucine Kasbarian)

C.K.'s Jenjig     (A chormis, kavourma, and egg stew)
     Serves 4 - 6       
Ingredients:                                       
2 cups (1 lb.) kavourma
8 slices chormis**, diced
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup lemon juice (Note from C.K.: Don't spare the lemon juice)
4 cups water
1 loaf hard crust Armenian flat bread
Directions:
Place kavourma and chormis in stockpot.
Cover with water, and cook over flame until boiling.
Add beaten eggs and lemon juice, and let simmer until eggs are hard.
Dunk bread slices in broth.
A few more notes from C.K.: 
** If one is pressed for time, one can use the soujoukh available in Armenian food stores, in lieu of chormis.

    This recipe can be modified to suit your own taste.

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