To mark the occasion, I decided to celebrate with a a big pan of Gouvedge. Not familiar with gouvedge? It's a heart-and-tummy-warming casserole of lamb, vegetables and LOVE!
|Gouvedge - hot and ready to serve!|
|Gouvedge ingredients ready to assemble: Cut vegetables, par-boiled lamb (still on the bone), lamb broth, and canned tomato products|
2 lbs. meaty lamb neck bones, trimmed of fat
Lamb broth (See Day 1 preparation for details)
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes with the liquid
1 lb. fresh green beans, end trimmed
2 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
2 medium eggplants, cut into cubes
1 lb. okra, optional (If okra is large, cut it into smaller pieces)
2 medium red or orange peppers, seeds removed, and cut into chunks
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
A small bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley, washed
Note: Measure all - or some - of the following seasonings according to your taste: Dried oregano, salt, black pepper, paprika, Aleppo pepper, dash of cayenne pepper, ground coriander seeds, allspice, etc.
Day One Preparation:
Place the lamb bones in a large pot with enough water to cover bones. Bring to a boil, skimming any residue from the surface during the cooking process. Reduce temperature to medium-low; place a cover, tilted, on the pot. Cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender enough to easily be removed from the bones. Periodically check the water level; do not let it all evaporate. Add more as needed. You should end up with at least 2 cups of broth.
Remove bones from the liquid and place on a plate. Once cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones; place meat in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until the next day.
Strain the liquid from the pot; discard any unwanted particles. Place strained cooking liquid in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
While the lamb cooks, cut all of the vegetables as noted above. Store the vegetables in separate plastic food storage bags and refrigerate.
Day Two Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350°- 375° F (ovens vary). Lightly oil a 9” x 13” baking pan.
Remove the layer of fat from the surface of the chilled lamb broth; discard fat.
In a large bowl, dilute the tomato paste with the lamb broth (there should be about 2 cups). Stir in the diced tomatoes and its liquid. Mix in the seasonings to taste. Add the lamb and vegetables – EXCEPT for the okra. Gently toss to combine.
Evenly spread the lamb-vegetable mixture in the prepared pan, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil. If using okra, add it now. Mix okra into the gouvedge and bake an additional 45 minutes.
While gouvedge is baking, make rice or bulgur pilaf to serve as a side dish.
Crusty bread is required for dipping!