BEST of Armenia food : Harissa, aka Herriseh !
Read our previous posting: “Best of Argentina food: the Asado!”
Harissa, which I could also call chicken risotto with wheat, is not only the national dish of Armenia, but also a rallying symbol for Armenia’s courage and fortitude across centuries of tribulations! A stick-to-the-ribs comforting dish perfect for a cool day!
Here’s the recipe for chicken Harissa (or Herriseh) from TheArmenianKitchen.com :
1 whole chicken, approximately 3 lbs.
8 cups water
2 cups whole wheat kernels, rinsed in cold water and drained
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1. Rinse chicken. Place in large pot with 8 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook, with lid tilted, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked.
2. Remove chicken from liquid; place on platter until cool enough to handle. Discard skin, bones and fat. Shred chicken; cut into smaller pieces, if necessary.
3. Strain broth. Measure broth, and add enough water to make the 8 cups needed. (Note: Some of the original amount of water will have evaporated, so this step is important.)
4. Place broth in large pot. Add wheat, shredded chicken, and salt if necessary. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Remove any foam which rises to the surface.
5. Simmer on a very low heat, covered, for about 4 hours — without stirring! — until almost all liquid is absorbed.
6. Beat vigorously with a sturdy, long-handled, wooden spoon, mashing the wheat and chicken until they resemble thick oatmeal. Adjust salt, if needed.
7. To serve: place in bowls. Add a pat of butter, if desired. Sprinkle with a dash of cumin or paprika.
A.) Cooking the chicken a day in advance allows you to chill the broth and discard excess chicken fat.
B.) Time-saving hints:
1. Leftover cooked chicken, lamb or turkey, and commercially prepared broth can be used to
shorten preparation time.
2. Using an immersion or stick blender, instead of beating with a wooden spoon (see step #6), will
save you a lot of time and energy!
C.) Leftover Herriseh freezes well. Just defrost, and reheat with a little extra liquid.
Read our related posting: “Armenia, homeland to its own alphabet!”
Read our next posting: “Best of Aruba food: Keshi Yena!”
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