Armenian assembly

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Fuzzy photos are fantastic – patience is short for fussy shots when aromatic provocation metamorphs mere hunger to ravenous fever!  The best of the rather elegant array…

Despite some whinging over yet another stew, Armenia delivered an extraordinary feast on par with any of the best; fantastic assortment of flavors and presentations:  Pumpkin stew, Manti (also, see gutsygourmet.com), Topik and Byorek.

Originally, a dzhash stew was planned — if searched, it is purported the “everyday Armenian dish,” ad nauseum, on tens of pages of entries, each copied from the last — but not an entry can be found for the recipe.  Likely, an all in the pot stew with typical regional seasonings.  Dzhash comes from, “Ճաշ,” which translates to dinner.  Searches for “Armenian dinner stew” are much more fruitful – leading to the pumpkin stew!

Most fun to make were the little manti — ground lamb stuffed wontons, baked, then boiled and topped with a garlickey yogurt sauce.

Completely uncharacteristically, the ground lamb was eschewed in favor of PPK tofu-balls — purists will curse us, assuredly.  Not lamb-y, but a good alternative and matched well with the flavors of the broth and yogurt.

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A gorgeous big noodle:

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A little noodle with a noodle on his noodle:

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Pre-cooking, assembled:

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Baked and brothed, with a splash of yogurt sauce and dusting of cilantro.  Really nice flavors and good texture with the noodle — slightly chewy, but delicate.

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Pumpkin stew — totally different than all the other stews, the dende, the sweet with fruit — this one has the delicious, subtle flavors of cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Fantastic — and served, in a roasted pumpkin, in this case, a pumpkin squash.  The squash was a flavorless dud but the stew was outstanding.

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Another filled pastry:  Cheese, cheese, egg, puff pastry.  Totally different from all the phyllo filled boreks. bureks, burekas, etc.  The kids approved of these — not much to dislike, other than calories.

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Lastly, but not leastly — the amazing Topik.  This is a failed application, not following visuals, but translated text that has instructions such as slice onions very thin bean salad.

Topik is supposed to be more like a St. Aubin St. Protuberi, with the sauce stuffed on the inside, rather than a sea upon which potato puffs preside.  Again, scoff, purists — cranberries replaced the currants and crushed almonds the pine nuts.

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Those absurdly delicious orbs will certainly be re-made, more correctly.  The sauce is the dish — cheat heavy on all the ingredients.

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Winter squash enchiladas

20140412_184007Simple:  Saute onions, then diced squash until soft, a pinch of salt and adding water to relieve caramalization.  Then, minced garlic, a few cannellini and sprinkle of cinnamon and cumin.  Dip tortillas, fill, roll and top with a little more sauce and queso.

Fresh and ripe Michigan butternut squash is a foremost favored food.  These imported sorts lack the rich flavor, but caramalization brings out what flavors they have.

More culinary confirmation bias, but, outstanding, rich and complementary flavors — even better if the filling is made the day before and flavors are allowed to set up, as experienced as leftovers.