Monday, June 3, 2013

Armenian Lamb with Sauteed Peppers and Onions on Walnut Couscous

A couple of weekends ago, I was out camping at a large historical re-creation event. I camp with a group that of people that are mostly enthusiastic cooks. At this event, however, we are all busy with the myriad activities available, and so meals tend toward simple and quick to prepare. Another reason to keep it simple is that sometime this site has an abundance of wasps. The less time raw meat is sitting around, the easier it is to avoid attracting their attention.

This is not to suggest, however, that the food is less than tasty. We are all kinda picky that way. Simple and fast can still be good.

One of our go to meals is something we dubbed Armenian burritos. Basically, it is an Armenian style sautéed ground lamb, served with spiced, sautéed onions and peppers, wrapped in pita bread or lavash (a soft flat bread). It is served with various condiments and add-ons, including diced green chilies, sliced black olives, minced cilantro, parsley, and/or mint, sliced pepperoncini, feta cheese, and home made yogurt cheeses (this year I made roasted garlic, and cucumber). Both the lamb and peppers are seasoned with garlic, parsley, allspice, paprika, and black pepper.

Well, the spouse did not get to camp this year, so I claimed some of the left over lamb (which is awesome in an omelet, but that's another post) for her. We had a giant bell pepper that needed used, so I sliced it up and sautéed it with onion, and spiced it up with cumin, fresh thyme, and cayenne. The couscous is a simplified version of the walnut butter couscous I've made before. I served it with some of the cucumber lebni.


Armenian Lamb

2 lbs. ground lamb
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp.  allspice
2 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste
3 Tbsp. olive oil

Mix all ingredients except olive oil. Add oil to a hot wok, then cook lamb quickly, stirring constantly.

Spiced Bell Peppers and Onions

1 large ripe bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
salt to taste

In a large skillet over medium to medium high heat, sauté onions in olive oil for two minutes. Add peppers, spices, and salt. Cook until vegetables are tender.

Walnut Couscous

1 cup dried couscous
1/2 cup ground walnuts
pinch salt
hot water as needed

Place couscous in a bowl. Stir in walnuts and salt. Pour over couscous enough water to cover. Mix well, let stand five minutes.

Cucumber Cheese

1 lb. lebni
3 small Persian cucumbers
1 tsp. coarse sea salt

Peel and shred cucumbers. Place in a colander over a bowl, sprinkle with salt. Let stand 30 minutes to allow cucumbers to release most of their moisture.

Stir cucumbers into lebni. Best if refrigerated for at least a day before use.

Happy Eating!


  1. Being Armenian, your title caught my attention when scrolling through my Foodblogs e-mails. Had to chuckle - I recently did an Armenian Burrito post myself. Thinking about what generally goes into a burrito, I used a galic/yogurt sauce in place of salsa, mashed lentils for refried beans, pilaf for the rice, shredded lamb and string cheese rolled in lavash. Turned out very good. Do you have some Armenian in you by any chance?? Wondering if that was somehow related to the event you attended?

  2. I can't claim any Armenian heritage. I don't remember the source of the recipe we adapted, it was more than 20 years ago.

    We were just looking for interesting recipes that are easy to do for a large crowd of busy, hungry people. The original did the veggies and lamb together, we separated them out so the vegetarians in our group could enjoy the meal.

    The event is for a Medieval/Renaissance history group. It covers all of Europe, plus areas with extensive contact with Europe, like the Middle East.