Chor Mees (Dried Meat)

Recipe requests keep coming in…..
The latest request came from R.J. who wrote,

“Hi Robyn,
My grandmother use to make something called, “Chord-Meese” (phonetic). It was cured meat that she put in cheese cloth and made only in the fall/winter and hung in our cold pantry to cure. It is not Soujook and it is not Basturma….but I can’t believe this recipe is a secret to others… Thank you.”

Chor Mees (Google image)

R.J., I think I have what you’re looking for. It’s “Chor Mees”, dried meat. Our preferred recipe comes from the “Assyrian Cookbook”, as it is the closest to the Dickranagerdtsi –style of cooking. It’s best to make this in cooler weather.

Chor Mees

1 leg or shoulder, lean lamb, (about 3 lbs.) finely ground (beef can also be used – or combine the 2)
ground allspice, to taste
freshly ground coriander seed, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Feel free to add any of your favorite spices: cayenne pepper, cumin, cinnamon, etc. according to your taste.
(Note: Since there are no preservatives other than salt, be a bit more generous with the salt measurement.)
Needle and thread
1. Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together. Suggestion: Cook a small patty of the meat mixture to determine taste. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.
2. Sew 2 or 3 cheesecloth bags measuring about 7-inch by 12-inch bags. Seams should be on the outside of the bags.
3. Fill bags about ¾ full. Leave about 2 “at the opening of the bag. Flatten with your hand to about ½ to ¾ inch thickness. Tie opening securely with a heavy string. Make a double knot, then make a loop about 2 to 3 inches long. This is for hanging while drying.
4. Flatten bags with a rolling pin to remove all air bubbles.
5. Place bags on top of each other on a flat surface with a heavy weight on top in a cool place. Put a board on top and store with a heavy weight on top. Refrigerate overnight. Next day, take a long stick and pass it through the loops of the bags. Hang in a cool, shady place to dry. (Note: chor mees can be hung by an open window, on a screened porch or in a garage.) Pack the bags under a heavy weight for 2 more nights in the refrigerator, hanging them to dry in a cool, shady place during the day. Continue this procedure for 5 to 7 days. Drying time will depend on the weather. The more dampness in the air, the longer it will take to dry.
6. Chor Mees will be ready to serve when the exterior is hardened.
7. Store in the refrigerator if using right away. Otherwise, slice it and wrap in plastic bags, then store in the freezer.
8. To serve: slice in thin pieces, and serve with pita bread, or fry and serve with eggs. Delicious!

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  1. Marash Girl February 11, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Is this the same as basterma?

  2. Unknown March 30, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Where can I buy Chor Kees? I had it as a child. It was Amazing!!

    1. Robyn Kalajian April 15, 2019 at 10:04 pm

      It would depend on where you live.

  3. Susan (Hovhanesian) Stoneson June 26, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    We lived on the second floor (over our dry cleaning shop) in Jersey City. My mother (from Aleppo) married my Dad (Dikranagertzi)- a mixed marriage. In the winter, my mother used to hang chormees (and basterma) from on our clothesline – nothing like it!


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