This recipe was originally published in the 1971 edition of the New York Times International Cook Book, and was reprinted on January 8, 2020 at In The Vintage Kitchen food blog.
“Armenia is the birthplace of the apricot and home to the oldest winery in the world, dating back 6,000 years,” says Katherine Barber at the In The Vintage Kitchen food blog. “Yerevan predates Rome, and is considered one of the oldest inhabited capital cities in the world. Armenia’s traditional cuisine has been influenced and enhanced by its surrounding neighbors, giving Armenian cuisine a blend of Russian, Turkish, Georgian and Mediterranean flavors Our mission at In The Vintage Kitchen is to bring new life to old recipes, forgotten cookbooks, historic kitchen tools, and basic cooking techniques from the 1800’s to the 1970’s. We learn about food, where it came from, and how it came to be in our lives today,” she adds.
This version of the popular Armenian stuffed meatball or kufta (or kufteh) is made with lamb stuffed inside another meat ball, also made of lamb, and cooked in beef broth. Each batch of meatballs, Katherine says, is made with a different blend of ingredients – one vegetable laden, the other grain laden.
“This recipe offers two alternatives for the bulgur, couscous and quinoa, both of which are available in Middle Eastern markets, and both substituted with the same one to one ratio. Couscous is a small, granular pasta made of semolina flour and contains gluten. Quinoa is actually a small seed that is cooked and eaten in a similar manner to most grains, but it’s gluten-free and relatively high in protein.”
Homemade Beef Stock and Armenian Stuffed Meatballs
There’s no getting around the fact that preparing this kufta is time-consuming, but the results are delicious, a true feast for any occasion.