Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kubba Hamuth


This is my husband's second favorite kubba, keeping in mind that the entire kubba genre is his overall favorite food of all time. That translates to some pretty good stuff.

This recipe could also use some tweaking to fit the original purpose of the blog: detailed recipes that anyone could expertise needed. But it could be a while before I make this again, so I'm publishing, and that's final. At least until I post a revised version, as I am wont to do.

I've seen vastly different recipes in books and on the internet, and have talked with different fantastic cooks, including my sweet mother-in-law (my go-to expert). This recipe combines my favorite elements of each version, while still staying true to the basics...lamb broth, turnips, lemon juice and mint. I admit, however, I prefer mine less tart than the Scientist I serve it with an extra half of lemon on the side so he can pucker it up to his liking. This strategy works for us since one can always make this more sour according to taste, but it's trickier to reduce the acidity. Note: he still says that's cheating...if it's not sour, it's not kubba hamuth, 'cause hamuth means sour! Sorry, Baby. I love you!

serves 4

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 T. vegetable oil
2 lamb shoulder chops, with bone, about 3/4 lb. each
salt and freshly ground pepper

3 turnips, peeled and cut in bite-sized pieces (I like 3/4")
9 cups water, plus more
1/4 cup tomato paste (Tukas brand, if possible)
3/4 tsp. dried mint, or to taste
the juice of 2 lemons
salt and pepper, to taste

12 kubba

In large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat oil, then saute onions until lightly browned. Meanwhile, salt and pepper both sides of the lamb shoulder chops. Push onions to the side of the Dutch oven and brown the meat on both sides.

Add water, turnips, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, or until the turnips are tender and the flavor of the broth has deepened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper frequently. The turnips absorb a lot of salt, so don't be afraid to adjust the seasonings more than once.

Stir in tomato paste, then add mint and lemon juice. These go in towards the end because their flavors are more delicate and the long boiling affects their flavor.

Drop kubba into boiling sauce and cook on medium-high heat until they float to the top, about 10 minutes or more.

Serve with rice and a green salad.



Anonymous said...

Bethany - Thank you! Kubba Hamuth is the recipe I've been waiting for! I'll make it someday when the whole family is together - as a tribute to my late Mom - who was from Kirkuk. In the meantime, I'm forwarding your recipes for KH and Kubba to them.

I have seen several versions of KH on the internet - but yours is how I remember making it with Mom. One question - do you serve the meat with the meal or is it only to make the broth and then removed? I don't remember Mom's KH with meat. Also, I remember that she sometimes shaped her Kubba like little footballs, as well as your disk shape. No matter how they're shaped, it's delicious!

There is another dish she used to make - that we can't find written anywhere. As we're an American, Christian Armenian family, from Turkey and Iraq, the recipe could have originated anywhere. Mom called it "Yakhni Valakh". Lamb broth lightly flavored with tomato and onion, chunks of meaty lamb with bone, lots of minced garlic, and marble-sized kubba balls (made with bulghur and meat, but no filling). Is this a dish your lucky husband is familiar with?

Thank you for the great recipes! I'll keep checking your site for more!


Bethany said...

Hi Carol,

Thanks for your kind encouragement! I'm so glad this recipe is what you were looking for and I hope turns into something very special for your family. I'd love to hear how it turns out.

My husband's family are also Christian Iraqi Armenian. It's a long story, as it always is. How I would love to find a bakery that makes fresh lamajoon close by!

As for your questions, the meat is primarily to season the broth, but this recipe calls for enough for all 4 people to have a smallish portion of lamb along with the kubba and turnips. You can easily halve the quantity of meat without watering down the broth too much, in my opinion. But we like to eat the meat, so to us it's an added bonus; we don't remove it.

I'll have to ask around about your other questions. The yakhni valakh sounds delicious; my mouth is watering just hearing about it! Is "valakh" an Armenian word?

Wishing you all the best in the Christmas season,


Anonymous said...

Hi Bethany,

I called Aunt Armine who said that Yakhni Valakh is most likely a Turkish recipe from the Urfa region, which came with my grandparents (I'm sure you know the history). Auntie said that the name is Turkish: Yakhni = cooked in broth; Valakh = round. It makes sense - little round kufta (Armenian word for "kubba" or "kibbe") in the meaty garlic-filled broth.

My best memories of lamajoon are three generations (grandmother, mother, aunt, and us little girls) in the kitchen making a hundred lamajoon - and eating it fresh out of the oven! I still have the little rolling pin I used as a child.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and happy and healthy New Year!


Anonymous said...

Bethany - we've been missing you - hope you and your family are well. Really enjoyed the recipes (especially the Kubba Hamuth I requested) and your stories. Love to see more, if you are up to it!

Bethany said...

Hi Carol!

What a great surprise to hear from you!

To tell you the truth, things have been a little busy around my place these days, but all in good ways. My family is well and happy, and I'm thankful.

I do have quite a few recipes up my sleeve, though, and am hoping to get back to posting any day now. :o)