It’s Pumpkin Time!

Reader Karen emailed me a newsletter from the Seroonian
Armenian Community Center, (outside of Philadelphia, PA.) which read:

“Come to the Seroonian Armenian Community Center on
October 11th for dinner. Dinner served
will include a delicious Armenian pumpkin dish, oroogh, pilaf, salad and
coconut cookies. Dinner will be served
at 7:30pm.”

Karen wrote: “I just got this newsletter which mentions
an Armenian pumpkin dish called “oroogh.” A quick google search didn’t yield any
results. Have you heard of it?”

Since ‘oroogh’ was a recipe name that didn’t ring a bell,
I searched through my cookbooks, and found 2 recipes (both spelled differently
than in the newsletter), neither of which included pumpkin. Instead they seemed
to be a type of lule kebab. (For the ‘Oroogh’ recipe, click here.)

As I suspected, the menu listed in the newsletter really
meant that the ‘delicious Armenian pumpkin dish’ and ‘oroogh’ were two separate

So then came my question …. “Now that I have an idea
of what oroogh is, what’s the
‘delicious Armenian Pumpkin dish’ mentioned in the newsletter?”

To find out, I emailed the Seroonian Community Center and
got an immediate response from Sevag Shirozian who told me the pumpkin and oroogh recipes were his mother’s. He suggested I contact her directly – which I immediately did.

Anahid Shirozian was delighted to share her recipes with
me, but I discovered she cooks ‘achkee chop’, meaning she eyeballs the ingredient amounts.

I took
some liberties with the measurements when writing up her Lamb and Pumpkin Stew
recipe, so if you try it, and it isn’t to your liking, the fault is mine!

Shirozian’s Lamb and Pumpkin Stew

In advance, cook about 2 lbs. of cubed stewing lamb (1 ½ to 2
inch cubes) in enough lightly salted water to cover the meat. Cook until the
meat is tender, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve.
Cut a 3-lb. pumpkin in half, scoop out and discard the
fibers, but save the seeds for roasting later on. Peel the pumpkin, and cut
into 1 to 1 ½ inch cubes.
In a large pot, add about 3 to 4 cups reserved lamb broth
(beef broth can be used). Stir in the pre-cooked lamb cubes, lemon juice to
taste, crushed dried mint (to taste), 4 oz. tomato paste, 5 to 6 cloves of
mashed garlic, seasonings of your choice. (Suggested seasonings: ground
coriander, cumin, cardamom, salt, pepper – measured to taste.)

Bring to a boil,
add pumpkin cubes. Partially cover the pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook
until pumpkin is tender, about 45 minutes. Adjust seasonings.
Serve with rice.
For some of The Armenian Kitchen’s pumpkin recipes, check out the list below:

Pumpkin Hummus

Simply click on the recipe name, and you’ll
be directed to the original story and recipe.
Have fun clicking, and happy pumpkin cooking!

The PUMPKIN list:

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