By Robyn and Doug Kalajian
FLArmenians Cuisine Contributors
After two years of preparation and anticipation, the 111th Diocesan Assembly and Clergy Conference in beautiful Boca Raton concluded on Sunday, May 5, 2013.
It was a whirlwind week of events with hundreds of attendees from Mid-Western, East Coast, and Southern states. In addition to the planned sessions and meetings, guests participated in luncheons, kef time (featuring the music of Johnny Berberian), area sightseeing, and a gala banquet honoring Armenians of the Year – Janet and Edward Mardigian, and Friend of the Armenians – former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. The week-long gathering culminated with a lavish farewell Sunday brunch for departing Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian of St. David Armenian Church.
I had a mini part in the grand scheme of things, but it was exciting just the same. Many of our seasonal visitors rolled up their sleeves alongside local parishioners to help create the massive menu for the farewell brunch.
Serving stations were set with assorted salads, yalanchi, lahmajoun, cheese boregs, meat boregs, and hummus. A carving station offered sliced-to-order roast beef, ham and turkey. Desserts included kourabia cookies, paklava, semolina cakes, fruit kabobs, and more. The beverage station served-up Mimosas (orange juice and champagne), plain orange juice, and coffee to help wash everything down.
Weeks before the brunch, I was at church working on another aspect of the preparation while a group of seasonal parishioners from Detroit were in the kitchen making the meat boregs. They made Dolly Matoian’s recipe which came from St. John Armenian Church (Detroit) cookbook. This is not a ‘home version’ recipe as it yields 375 to 400 boregs, and requires 20 workers over a 2-day period to complete.
Instead of using phyllo dough or puff pastry, the dough was more chorag-like. The meat filling had a nice ‘kick’ from the blend of black pepper and cayenne pepper in the filling. I got to sample a test boreg as it came out of the oven – it was soft, warm, and so delicious!
I have made an attempt to break down the large-group recipe for the home kitchen, but be warned – I have not tested this version. The new ingredient amounts represent 1/8th the original recipe measurements.
The smaller recipe should yield about 45 to 50 boregs, and I would suggest having one or two extra pairs of hands to assist. Oh yes, it’s important to prepare the meat mixture one day in advance.
Please don’t be discouraged by the lengthy recipe. One thing is for sure, I can certainly appreciate the time and effort the Detroit ladies put into this recipe, and I truly did savor every bite!
Here’s the (untested) home version recipe…
Meat Boreg (Beoreg)
Yield: 45 to 50 pieces
1 lb. chopped onions
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 ¾ lbs. ground lamb
1 ¾ lb. ground sirloin (or chuck)
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. paprika
¾ lb. (3 sticks) butter
¾ c. dried parsley (or 1 cup fresh, chopped parsley)
¼ lb. (1 stick) butter
¼ cup vegetable shortening
1¼ c. milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. dry granular yeast
½ cup warm water
2 ¼ tsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
3 ¼ lb. all-purpose flour (approx. 12 cups)
2 eggs, beaten
Regular or black sesame seeds
1. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet. Saute onions until soft, but not mushy. Strain onions in a colander, pressing firmly to remove any liquid. Set aside until ready to use.
2. In a large frying pan, cook lamb and beef over medium heat until brown. Break meat down with a fork to remove any large lumps. Strain out any excess fat.
3. Place cooked onions and meat in a large mixing bowl. Stir in all of the seasonings. Taste for flavor and spiciness. Make any adjustments, if necessary.
4. Melt the butter in a skillet and add to the meat-onion mixture. Finally, add the chopped parsley.
5. Place mixture in shallow containers; cover and refrigerate until day 2.
Directions for Dough Preparation:
1. Melt butter and shortening in a saucepan. Allow to cool. Add milk to butter mixture; set aside.
2. Using a hand or stand mixer and a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until well-blended.
3. Begin adding flour, a little at a time, to the egg mixture for a uniform mixture.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the ½ c. warm water, yeast and sugar, whisking to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof.
5, Add proofed yeast to the flour mixture and knead dough well.
6. Using a food scale, portion the dough into 1 ½ to 2 oz. portions; place on trays, cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and allow to rest.
7. Portion the meat into 1/12 to 2 oz. portions.
8. On a work surface (no flour should be needed), roll each dough portion into 4-inch circles, and place on platters.
Forming and baking the boregs:
9. Hold each round of dough in one hand; top with meat mixture. Pinch or fold the dough over the meat to completely seal the filling.
10. Place – seam side down – on parchment-lined baking sheets. Lightly press down to make a bun shape instead of a ball shape. Continue the process until the trays are filled. Allow boregs to rest about 15 minutes before baking.
11. Bake in preheated 375°F oven (350°F for convection oven) until golden.
12. Place baked boregs on cooling racks; cool completely. If not serving immediately, place borges in freezer bags in single layers, and freeze until ready to use.
13. Prior to serving, defrost boregs in the refrigerator, and bake in preheated 325°F oven until warmed through.
Mr. & Mrs. Edward & Janet Mardigian to be honored at May 3 banquet as Diocesan “Members of the Year”
Boca Raton, FL – The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) is pleased to announce the details of the 111th Diocesan Assembly, scheduled to convene May 2 through 5, 2013, in Boca Raton, Florida.
St. David Armenian Church will host the Diocesan gathering, which will bring together several hundred Armenian Church leaders from throughout the Eastern Diocese—including clergy, parish delegates and parish council chairs, the Diocesan Council, leaders of Diocesan organizations, and members of the Diocesan staff.
His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, will preside over all the gatherings and events.
A highlight of the week of activities will be the annual Diocesan Assembly awards banquet, on the evening of Friday, May 3. At that time, Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Janet Mardigian will be honored as the Diocese’s 2013 “Armenian Church Members of the Year.” Natives of the St. John Armenian Church of Southfield, Michigan, Edward and Janet Mardigian have been heroic benefactors of the Diocese and the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), and are continuing the grand legacy of leadership, participation, and support established by Edward’s late parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Helen Mardigian.
The “Friend of the Armenians” award will be presented to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who visited Armenia in the wake of the 1988 earthquake.
Prior to the Assembly itself, clergy from across the Diocese will meet for their annual Clergy Conference and retreat, from Monday, April 29 through Wednesday, May 1.
The Diocesan Women’s Guild General Assembly also convenes during the week. This year, leaders of parish Women’s Guilds will begin their annual meeting on Thursday, May 2, at 10:00 a.m. under the presidency of the Primate, with all Diocesan clergy participating. The Women’s Guild Central Council’s fourth annual Woman of Wonder (WOW) Appreciation Luncheon will be held on Saturday, May 4. This year’s honorees are Carol Norigian, Nina Stapan, Claudette Sarian, Rose Kazanjian, and Naomi Davitian.
The Diocesan Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 2 at 4:00 p.m., with sessions continuing to the afternoon of Saturday, May 4. In addition to the regular business sessions and reports from the Diocesan Council, FAR, and various Diocesan organizations, one entire morning session will be devoted to a presentation of the new Diocesan theme for the coming year: “Living the Gospel of Christ.”
On Sunday, May 5, the Primate will preside over a special Divine Liturgy at St. David Church for the Assembly attendees.
The host parish, under the leadership of the Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian, has arranged for accommodations at the Marriott Boca Raton Hotel (5150 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton, FL 33431), where the sessions will also take place. To register, please click to print out the forms below and follow the instructions for submission.
Jacksonville Parish Completes Hall Renovation
Last weekend, parishioners of the Jacksonville mission parish gathered for the provisional opening of the church’s new hall. On Sunday, February 17, the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian, the Diocese’s Director of Mission Parishes, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and performed a Home Blessing service in the new facility.
The hall is located on the first floor of a two-story building that the parish purchased in the summer of 2011. Since then, parishioners have worked together to renovate the building, which will serve as a community center, where local Armenians can gather for worship, and for cultural and social programs. The second floor, which will be completed soon, will be used for liturgical celebrations and performing sacraments. The formal blessing ceremony will be presided over by Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian later this year.
Parish Council chair Elmira Grigoryan expressed her appreciation to the community for its dedication to the project. Special thanks went to Suren Vardanian and Harout Baboyan, who have been overseeing the renovations.
Also during his visit, Fr. Abdalian performed a requiem service to honor the Armenian victims of Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing. Many of the families in Jacksonville moved to the U.S. after fleeing anti-Armenian pogroms in Sumgait and Baku.
ACYOA Juniors Gather for Retreat in Florida
Earlier in February, Jennifer Morris, the Diocese’s Youth Outreach Coordinator, traveled to the Sunshine State where she led the Western Florida ACYOA Juniors Retreat. More than 20 teens from St. Hagop Church of Pinellas Park, and Soorp Haroutiun Church of Orlando, gathered for small group discussions and Bible study sessions that encouraged them to think about how they can better share the light of Christ in their everyday lives.
On Sunday morning, the Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, pastor of St. Hagop Church, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and welcomed Jennifer Morris to speak to the parish about the Diocesan Summer Camp programs. The retreat was hosted by St. Hagop Church, with the leadership of youth adviser Yn. Anna Demerjian and the support of several parish volunteers.
Story combined from the February 21st Armenian Church E-Newsletter.