Friday, December 18, 2015

Douzma, A Very Special Meat and Vegetable Casserole

With Christmas only a week away, I felt it appropriate to make douzma again, that wonderful, wintery, Armenian (Dikranagerdtsi) comfort food. ‘Douzma”, you might recall from a previous post, means “lined up” or “alternating”, which indicates how the ingredients are assembled in the baking pan.

Feel free to view our douzma video for some helpful tips! 

Douzma, a Dikranagerdtsi Comfort Food 
Serves 5 to 6

Select vegetables that are similar in size. Cut the vegetables to the same thickness to ensure even baking.

1 lb. ground lamb, beef or turkey - not too fatty
Salt, pepper, and allspice, to taste
2 Japanese eggplants, cut into 1/4 inch circles (any eggplant will do, but my preference is Japanese)
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 in. slices
2 medium (starchy variety) potatoes, peeled and sliced into about 1/4 in. slices
Sliced tomatoes - as many as will fit in between above ingredients (about 2 medium)
6 oz. can tomato paste, diluted in about 1 to 1-1/2 cups water; seasoned with additional salt, pepper and allspice to taste

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F.
Douzma Ingredients

2.    Mix meat with salt, pepper, allspice to taste, and one or two tablespoons of the tomato paste, until well-combined. Form meat into patties, about ¼ to ½ inch thick. (Make sure you end up with enough meat patties to alternately arrange between the vegetable slices.)

3.  Dilute remaining tomato paste with 1 to 1/2 cups water, season with additional salt, pepper, and allspice, if desired. Pour a little sauce onto the bottom of the baking pan and spread to cover.

4.     Arrange all of the above vegetables, and meat patties alternately, in a standing position in a large roasting pan (approx. 9“x13“), until all of the ingredients are used.
Step #5

Step #4

5. Pour the remaining sauce over the meat and vegetables.

6. Bake, uncovered, for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until vegetables are tender and top is lightly browned.

Serve with a chopped salad and bread for dipping for an extra-hearty meal!

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