His Armenian grandma Clara used to make manti as a special-occasion treat. The pastry must be rolled very thin, cut into tiny squares, filled with meat, assembled and baked—definitely a labor of love. To save time late in life, Clara’s quick-trick was to substitute won-ton wrappers for the handmade dough. While this recipe from a St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church of Racine, WI collection isn’t Clara’s, it comes close.
Makes 8 servings
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 4 Tbsp melted vegetable shortening
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp salt
- small amount of water
- 1 lb ground lean beef or ground lean lamb
- 2 onions very finely minced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely minced
- Garlic, finely minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cans chicken broth
- Yogurt garnish
- Fresh mint, chopped fine as garnish
- Make pastry: Mix all pastry ingredients to make a semi-firm dough. Knead until dough is smooth. Divide dough into 2 balls and cover with a towel. Let rise for 1 hour.
- Make filling: Combine ground meat with onions, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl; set aside.
- Shape noodles: On a floured table, roll each dough ball into a large circle, very thin—at least 1/9th of an inch thin. Cut into 1 ½-inch squares. Place ¼ tsp of filling in center of each square. Pinch opposite corners of each square together to make little boats.
- Assemble: Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan. Place boats in pan close together in honey-comb-like rows. When pan or pans are filled, bake at 375 degrees until golden brown. Pour hot broth over manti and bake until pastry boats are soft and broth is fully absorbed. Serve in individual dishes with a small amount of broth, dollop of yogurt and sprinkle of mint.