When my husband Doug, friends Bonnie and David, and I attended St. Mary Armenian Church Food and Music Fest in April, we feasted on some pretty tasty food. One of the highlights of our meal was the lule kebab – tender, juicy, and delicious.
We heard through the grapevine that the recipe prepared for the festival was a specialty of St. Mary parish priest, Father Vartan Joulfayan. Impressive, I must say!
If you’ve been following our website, you know that we’re fans of lule kebab, especially if it’s made with good quality ground lamb- and – just as there are numerous recipes (and spellings) for other Armenian foods, lule kebab is no exception. See our own recipe for lule kebab.
Since I’m always searching for recipes – new and old – I asked Father Vartan if he would share his lule kebab recipe with The Armenian Kitchen. Happily, and without hesitation, he did so. Thank you, Father Vartan!
As soon as I received his version, it was clear that I had to make it. My dinner guests would certainly include Bonnie and David, who eagerly accepted our invitation for a very special Memorial Day meal.
Our kebabs turned out just as plump, tender, and juicy as we remembered them at the Food Fest. Our guests – and we – enjoyed the flavor and texture as well. The addition of bread crumbs, egg, tomato sauce, and liquidy onions accounted for the tender consistency of the kebabs. The accompaniments – fresh parsley and onions, along with roasted peppers and tomatoes (the oven was already on, so I roasted the veggies in there, too), Armenian-style potato and egg salad, and locally grown corn- on- the- cob elevated the meal into a holiday feast.
For dessert: watermelon and Armenian coffee………….. delicious!
Lule Kebab ala Father Vartan Joulfayan
- 1 medium onion (cut into quarters)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 lb lean ground beef
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 5 tbsp tomato sauce
- ½ cup plain bread crumb
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 bunch fresh parsley (finely chopped)
- ½ lemon (juiced)
- 1 egg (raw)
- Place the cut onion and 2 cloves of garlic in a food processor. Process until onion and garlic are very finely chopped. Special Note: DO NOT discard the juice extracted from the onion and garlic; it will be added to the meat mixture.
- Place the meat into a large mixing bowl. Add the processed onion and garlic – along with their liquid – to the meat.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the meat, mixing well by hand.
- Using a ½ cup measure, make 12 balls.
- Roll them into the traditional Lule (sausage-like) shape and grill until cooked through. (An outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan may be used.)
- If outdoor grilling isn't an option, place the kebabs on a roasting rack over a foil-lined baking pan. Bake the lule kebabs at 375°F for about 35 minutes, turning them after about 20 minutes.