Parcha-Bozbash

PARCHA-BOZBASH is Azerbaijani national dish, which served as a first and a second course meal at the same time.
The name of the dish came from the Turkish-Azerbaijani language. “Parcha” means a piece of meat on the bone, “Boz” means gray, and “Bash” means head.

Ingredients for 2 portions:
2 lamb shanks
1 onion
½ cup chickpeas
2 medium size potatoes
2 tomatoes (optional)
pinch of saffron or turmeric
salt to taste
pinch of dried mint

Preparation:
Cooking the chickpeas.
Before cooking dried chickpeas, the first thing you will have to do is soak them. Place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover completely with cold water and allow to soak overnight. Once chickpeas have soaked, drain and transfer to a pot or saucepan. Cover with water twice the amount of chickpeas and simmer until they are tender. Drain the chickpeas in a colander or strainer and let them to cool down. Then you need to remove the skin from the chickpeas. Use your fingers to very gently squeeze the chickpeas and loosen the skin from them. You can squeeze them from one hand into another. It is a very easy to do procedure. Once you remove the skins, discard them.
Alternatively, you can use canned chickpeas, it is less economical, but you will save your time.

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Cooking the lamb shanks.
Lamb shanks come from the lower section of the lamb’s leg. Because of its texture, lamb shank requires a long cooking process time, such as boiling or steaming. Boiling the lamb shanks will allow the gristle and meat to become flavorful, moist and soft.

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Rinse shanks with cool water and place them in a pot. Add 2 pints (2 liter) of hot water and bring to the boil. As it comes to a boil, skim the foam off. Place the onion in the pot, add salt, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the lamb is cooked and tender.

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Cooking Bozbash.

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Remove the shanks from the broth, and place them to another pot together with a cooked chickpeas and peeled and cut into large pieces potatoes. Using a ladle, pour the broth through a strainer with very fine mesh into the pot. Sprinkle the saffron or turmeric, add dried (or fresh) mint and simmer until potatoes are cooked, then add tomatoes (it’s optional) and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, over low heat.

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Serve Parcha-Bozbash on individual plates.

Bon Appétit! Enjoy!

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