Hye Thyme Cafe: Armenian Burritos

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Armenian Burritos

Armenian Burritos

This post was inspired by Robin Donovan, author of CAMPFIRE CUISINE: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors. You may recall that I had an opportunity to review Robin's cookbook last week and that one of her recipes was for an Aram Sandwich. I had mentioned that "Aram Sandwich" made me think of a lamb sandwich but that it really referred to the bread she used - lavash. I started thinking about burritos while wrapping my Smoked Turkey Aram Sandwich and came up with this post. Also, in keeping with Robin's cookbook, Shish Kebab is a great option for campfire cuisine, so you could use the leftovers for burritos the next day. 

Roasting lamb or cubing a leg of lamb to grill Shish Kebab is pretty standard in an Armenian household. Throw in some Syrian bread, Pilaf and a veggie with some salad or a plate of tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes fresh out of the garden, and you've got your Sunday dinner. I usually have a hard time finding American lamb, but I got lucky the other day and found a package of boneless butterflied leg of lamb at one of the local markets.

Grammy cubing lamb for Shish Kebab

To be honest, I have never actually cooked lamb myself, aside from using ground lamb in Losh Kebab, Manti, etc. That torch passed from my grandfather to my grandmother, then from my Mom to my sister, so I have always happily parked myself at one of their tables for roasted lamb or shish kebab. This was the first time left to my own devices, and having no idea how to go about cooking a boneless/butterflied leg of lamb, I decided to just marinate it overnight like for shish kebab (onions, salt and pepper, parsley, oregano, and olive oil) and then roast it and keep my fingers crossed. ;)

Lamb marinade - onions, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, olive oil

Lavash, garlic yogurt, lentils, lamb, pilaf, string cheeseINGREDIENTS :
Plain yogurt
Boiled lentils
Cooked lamb
String Cheese

For the lamb, you can slice it, dice it, pull it, etc. Being used to shredding chicken in the food processor for croquettes, I decided to do the same with the lamb, so while it was still warm, I threw some into the food processor and shredded it using the plastic dough blade.

If you are making your burritos on the spur of the moment, you might want to try mixing just a bit of garlic powder into the yogurt. If you know at least a few hours ahead of time that you'll be making them, grate some fresh garlic into the yogurt and let it chill, giving it a chance to infuse.

Your traditional burrito has meat and rice. Some have cheese, lettuce, sour cream, etc. If you are someone who likes mint jelly with your lamb, you could chiffonade some fresh mint leaves to finish off your burrito. You can easily see the substitutions that I made:

Flour Tortilla - Lavash
Ground Beef - Lamb
Rice - Pilaf
Refried Beans - Lentils (lightly mashed)
Shredded Cheese - String Cheese
Sour Cream - Yogurt with Garlic

  • Lay the lavash (or flour tortilla) on your work surface and spread with the yogurt mixture, not quite to the edges.
  • From one side across the center to within about an inch of the opposite side, layer your mashed lentils, lamb, pilaf, and string cheese (mint optional).
  • Top with some freshly ground black pepper.
  • Roll into a burrito as pictured below.

Armeinan String Cheese

Armenian Burritos : Hye Thyme CafeThis is real string cheese by the way. You can usually find it with the good Parmesan and other "gourmet" cheeses rather than with the cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc. If you have to buy regular string cheese (for this or in general), I highly recommend the Weight Watchers brand. I find that one to have the best flavor and string. Most others are just sticks of rubbery mozzarella.  

Wrapping - Step 1
Wrapping - Step 2
Wrapping - Step 3
Wrapping - Step 4

Wrapping - Step 5

Thanks to Robin for sparking this idea!  :)


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