Once a week, during the Lenten season, Armenian Churches have an evening service, followed by a potluck dinner of Lenten dishes provided by attendees, and, finally, an appropriately themed program.
My recipe contribution for an up-coming Lenten evening is Eech, which is similar to, but not quite the same as Tabbouleh.
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped )
- ½ large bell pepper (Use any color pepper- red, yellow, orange, green, or a combination, for a colorful presentation. )
- ¼ cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- ½ bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley (washed and finely chopped – Use 3/4 of the parsley in the eech mixture and save 1/4 of it to mix with onion for topping.)
- 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
- ¾ cup water
- 1 Tbsp. red pepper paste (optional)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves (finely chopped. (1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried mint may be substituted.))
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves (finely chopped (1/2 teaspoon crushed dried basil may be substituted.))
- 1 tsp. paprika
- ¾ tsp. cumin (optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup fine bulgur (#1 size)
- In a medium-sized saucepan, sauté 3/4 of the chopped onion and all of the chopped pepper in olive oil until soft. (Save the other 1/4 of the chopped onion to mix with parsley for topping.) Add tomato sauce, water, red pepper paste, if using, lemon juice and seasonings. Stir well; bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add bulgur, stirring well. Stir in 3/4 of the chopped parsley, reserving the rest for the the topping. Set aside to cool.
- When cool enough to handle, scoop the eech into a 1/3 cup dry measure for a uniform shape when it is inverted onto a platter.
- To Serve: Sprinkle the tops with the reserved mixture of onions and parsley. If you prefer, serve eech in a serving bowl, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with the chopped parsley and onion.