Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gouvedge: Lamb, veggies -- and memories

Doug’s cousin, Alice Bakalian, sent us the gouvedge recipe of his mother’s family.

Alice remembers her sister, Rose Shamlian, making it in the summer at her home in Belmar, NJ on the outside covered barbecue - usually for a houseful of company.

It was served with Armenian salad, bulgur or rice pilaf, and Silver Queen corn from nearby farms. The meal awaited family returning from the beach or fishing.

Alice recalls this as having been such a joyous time, and happy house. “Amazing how a pot of gouvedge left us with such wonderful memories!”

I know, Alice. I, too, have savored Rose’s gouvedge. Wonderful memories, indeed!

P.S. from Doug: This brings back wonderful memories for me, too. My mother learned to cook gouvedge -- and pretty much everything else -- from Alice's mother, Aunt Baidzar.

Alice has now inherited her mother's place as keeper of our family recipes and history -- and she has been extraordinarily patient and generous in responding to my curiosity over the years.

Thanks for everything -- and God bless you and Uncle Azie.

2 lbs. (lamb) neck bones - remove fat
2 lbs. string beans - cleaned and cut in half
2 lbs. zucchini - cut into 2 inch pieces
1 lb. okra
1 large onion - sliced
½ head garlic- separated and peeled
2 small frying peppers - cut up
A handful of parsley
1 can tomato paste - diluted with about 2 cups of water
Black pepper and red pepper

Preheat oven to 325 to 350°F, depending on your oven.
Arrange meat in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Pour string beans on top of meat.
Next, place the zucchini on top of the string beans.
Spread the peppers, onion, garlic, and parsley all over the veggies.
Then pour the diluted tomato paste, and sprinkle the black and red pepper over all.
Bake, covered, about 1 hour.
Now, add okra.
Stir meat to the top of the pan, so it will brown.
Continue baking one more hour, uncovered.


  1. Can you even buy lamb neckbones now? Probably if you go to a butcher, I'd guess -- I can't ever recall seeing them in Publix.

  2. Lamb neckbones are available from time to time. When I see them, I buy as many packages as I can fit in the freezer.

  3. Alice Bakalian and my grandma Zarien Simitian are cousins. :)

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  5. Alice Bakalian and my grandma Zarien Simitian are cousins. :) I grew up eating that same recipe for gouvedge, one of my favorites!