The first Armenian meal was a stew called Bozbash.
I originally decided to make Bozbash after coming across praise for it in a book about Eastern European cuisine. This book, and several websites, identified Bozbash as an Armenian dish. I found several recipes for so-called Armenian Bozbash also. I also came across this article, containing a conjecture that Bozbash is not Armenian, but Azeri. I have no idea, and I had already made the thing, so to keep things simple this is my totally inauthentic, veganised version of the Azeri/Armenian/generally Central Asian dish.
For the record it was warm, hearty, but a little boring. I forgot the vinegar though, and this may have made the difference. No doubt the meaty version is less bland, but you can only get so much juice out of soy sausages.
- olive oil
- 2 Fry’s burgers
- Medium brown onion, small dice
- 1 tbs margarine
- 2 carrots, chopped into rounds
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 cups vegan “beef” stock, 1 cup water
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 leek, diced
- 2 potatoes, big dice
- 1 large tomato, peeled and diced
- 1 can chickpeas (400g), drained
- 1/2 cup fresh peas
- 4 semi dried prunes
- Leaves of 2 sprigs flat leaf parsley
- Leaves of 2 sprigs coriander
- a little vinegar, to serve
My method was mostly like the Beyond Borscht recipe, with a few deviations.
- In a large saucepan fry the diced burhers in a little oil until they brown. Remove from an and put aside.
- In the same pan, fry the onion in some margarine, until brown. Stir so it doesn’t burn too much ( a little is ok).
- Add the carrot and continue to fry over medium heat until beginning to brown, stirring to avoid burning. Remove carrot and onion but don’t clean the pot.
- Add the bay leef, thyme, water and beef stock, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes with the lid off.
- Put the carrot and onion back in the pan, and add the leek, garlic and pepper. Put the lid on and simmer for about 45 minutes. Check occassionally to ensure yours doesn’t go dry. (mine didn’t).
- Remove from heat but let it sit with the lid on, for 1 hour or more. (If you need to let it sit overnight or for a few hours, sit it in the fridge after it cools, to avoid nasties building up).
- In a separate pot boil the potatoes until tender, but not falling apart. Once done, set aside.
- To peel the tomato: Cut a small, very shallow cross on the bottom of the tomato, and remove the core in a small cone shape. The tomato should still be in one piece after this. Then put the tomato into boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Remove and allow to cool a bit. Once cool enough to touch, the skin should come off easily. Then dice the tomato and set aside.
- When you are ready to eat, put the soup together. Pull out the bay leaf and discard. Add the burgers, tomato, chickpeas, peas and potatoes to the carrot/leek/stock mixture and heat to your serving temperature.
- Dived the prunes and the solids of the soup into three bowls, pour the soup over. Garnish with parsley and coriander, and a little squirt of vinegar.
I served it up with a lentil pilaf, and an eggplant salad.
For the pilaf I used this recipe I found on CeltNet, although I used half rice and half bulgur.
Eggplant Salad (based on this recipe from Little Armenia)
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 spring onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs Sun dried tomatoes, small dice
- 3 Tbs red capsicum, small dice
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp sumac
- lemon juice from 1/4 lemon
- salt to taste
- 2 Tbs chopped parsley
- In a very hot oven, roast the eggplant, turning 3 times so all side brown and the eggplant deflates a bit. Takes about 20 minutes.
- Let the eggplant cool enough to handle. Open the eggplant and scrape the flesh and seeds into a bowl. Discard the skin.
- Mash the eggplant with a fork, then add the onion, garlic, tomato, capsicum, oil, spices, and lemon juice, and mix together.
- Add salt to taste if desired.
- Put the mix in a serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley. I like it best if it sits for 30 minutes or more before eating.