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Armenian Keofta with Pine Nuts

I’m sorry I don’t remember who suggested we make keofta in our kitchen. Well, we don’t at present, but I had fun fooling around at home with the recipe given to us. I like the one below, and think it’s a winner. Keofta is simple, peasant food, something like a hamburger made with peas or lentils, and I’ve gussied it up a bit here with pine nuts and raisins. Leave those out, and the dish is very economical too.

Yellow split peas, a member of the legume family that have lots of protein (and fiber), are a variety of field peas that split when dried. They don’t need to be soaked and are mostly used in soups and stews. I think you’ll like them this way too!

Serves 6-8     

2 C yellow split peas ½ C currants or golden raisins
6 C water ½ C pine nuts
½ C ghee or extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) 1-2 tsp Celtic or Himalayan salt
2 C chopped onions ½ tsp each coriander & paprika
2 C fine diced carrot 1 tsp ground cumin
2 C fine diced celery 1 C bulgur or soy granules
4 cloves minced garlic 1 C chopped parsley or cilantro
1 tsp black pepper  

Put yellow split peas in medium sized pot with water and bring water to a boil. Turn down heat, mostly cover pot and simmer peas 45 minutes. In the meantime, gently warm ghee or EVOO and sauté onion until golden and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic and black pepper and sauté another 5 minutes. Add currants or raisins, pine nuts, salt and spices. Turn off heat under this pot and let stand. Remove cover from pot with peas and stir in either the bulgur or soy granules. Either will absorb any remaining water in the pot. Let this mixture cool slightly and then add onion mixture. Mix again. Shape split pea mixture into longish patties. Dip those into chopped parsley or cilantro. Serve with a garlicky salad. Alternatively, instead of dipping keofta into chopped greens, stir those into pattie mixture together with onions. Can you stir in more ghee or EVOO at the end for a richer flavor? Roll patties in more pine nuts? Can you eliminate pine nuts entirely? Sure.

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