Lamb Testicle Chashushuli and Cheese Khinkali

I seem to be going through an “extreme offal” phase. Only a few weeks ago, I was writing about veal brains, and here I am striking back, this time below the belt! I found these lamb testicles from 3-Corner Field Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket a few weeks ago, and figured that lamb offal would be a good candidate for a nice Georgian stew. Chashushuli usually consists of stewed veal with tomato, onion, spices, and herbs (plus sometimes other vegetables), but there’s no real restriction on the meat you’re using.  If you want to stick to the more traditional veal, I would suggest trying sweetbreads — you can prepare them pretty much the same way as the testicles below.

My chashushuli is served with cheese khinkali (Georgian dumplings). I wanted to try something different from the classic purse shape, but in retrospect I don’t think it was such a good idea. In the end, just shape them the way you want, half moons being the simplest. The purists among you can learn how to properly fold the dough in this unlikely video taken from Japanese TV. Just be careful on this point in my recipe below: in order to keep the ingredient proportions more manageable, the cheese dumplings yield far more servings than the chashushuli.

Your lamb testicles may or may not come with the skin on. Of course, nowadays, a testicle peeling demo is only one click away.

Lazy Boris’ corner:
Skip the deep-fried cherry tomatoes and basil. The dish will be less pretty but just as tasty. Instead of making your own khinkali, buy some cheese ravioli.

Pasta dough
Yields about 10 servings

9 1/2 oz flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 oz olive oil

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fit with the paddle attachment, place half of the flour, the salt, eggs, egg yolks, and olive oil. Mix on low speed until homogeneous, scraping down the sides with a spatula.
  • Add the rest of the flour and mix again until it forms a smooth dough. Transfer to a floured surface, and knead with your hand for about 3 minutes.
  • Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.

Cheese khinkali
Yields about 10 servings (20 dumplings) , depending on the shape you choose

3 oz brynza or Bulgarian feta
3 oz mozzarella
3 oz ricotta
1/2 oz parmesan, grated
1 egg
1/2 oz olive oil
1 pinch smoked salt
1 pinch garlic granules
salt, pepper
pasta dough
egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with equal part cold water)

  • Process the brynza, mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, egg, olive oil, smoked salt, garlic granules, salt, and pepper in a food processor (or a blender over low speed) until almost smooth. Do not mix for too long, or the cheese will start turning liquid! Refrigerate until very cold.
  • Using a pasta machine, roll the dough to the thinnest setting. Cut the dough into the shape of your choice (such as a 3.5″-diameter circles). Brush each piece with egg wash, add some cheese filling, and fold as desired (e.g. in half, to make half-moons). Reserve on a sheet tray covered with semolina.

Chashushuli sauce
Yields 4 servings

12 oz tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz peeled onion, very thinly sliced
1 peeled garlic clove, very thinly sliced
2 1/2 oz olive oil
1/2 tsp ground star anise
6 oz red pepper, small dice
1/2 tsp Urfa pepper
1/4 tsp smoked salt
6 oz white wine
6 oz lamb stock
6 oz peeled potatoes, medium dice

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Make cross marks in the tomatoes with a knife, blanch for 30 seconds, then shock in a bowl of ice water. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. Roughly chop the flesh and reserve. Place the seeds and membranes with the salt into a conical sieve over a bowl, and leave for 30 minutes. Push the contents of the sieve with a ladle a few times, then discard. Reserve the tomato liquid.
  • In a pot, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add the star anise, and stir for 1 minute. Mix in the red pepper, Urfa pepper, and smoked salt, and cook until the peppers are soft, stirring regularly. Add the chopped tomato flesh and white wine, simmer for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the tomato liquid and lamb stock. Simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add the potatoes, and cook for another hour. Reserve.

Lamb testicle chashushuli
Yields 4 servings

4 lamb testicles
salt
Wondra flour
2 oz butter
chashushuli sauce

  • Peel the testicles (see video above). Transfer to a small bowl, and cover with about 1 quart cold water mixed with 2% salt. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then change the salted water and refrigerate for another hour.
  • Take the testicles out of the brine, pat dry with towel, and sprinkle with Wondra flour on all sides. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat, add the testicles, and cook until you get a nice brown color on all sides. Add to the pot containing the chashushuli sauce, cover with some sauce, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Assembly
Yields 4 servings

canola oil (for deep-frying)
4 basil leaves
8 cherry tomatoes
8 cheese khinkali
1 oz butter
lamb testicle chashushuli
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped basil

  • Heat the canola oil to 375 F in a pot or in a deep-fryer.
  • Deep-fry the basil leaves for about 1 minute, until crispy. Make sure the leaves are fully submerged, gently pressing on them with a skimmer. Remove from the oil and reserve on paper towels.
  • Make a mark on each cherry tomato with a knife, and deep-fry for 2-3 minutes, until the skin separates from the flesh. Remove from the oil and reserve on paper towels.
  • Cook the cheese khinkali in salted boiling water until done — the cooking time will depend on their size. Transfer to a bowl, toss in the butter, and reserve.
  • Arrange the chashushuli, khinkali, fried basil and tomatoes on the plates. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve immediately.