• December 19, 2017
  • Iraq Solidarity News (Al-Thawra)
  • No comments
Windsor and Metro Detroit are home to a large Chaldean community — and on Christmas day, the star of dinner is a boiled meat dish called pacha. 

Also known as khash or kalleh pacheh, pacha is popular in many countries and consumed by a wide variety of people. 

For Chaldeans — a group of mainly Christian people from the area that is now Iraq, Turkey and Syria — the dish is generally made with lamb, but beef can also be used. 

To find out more, I contacted Chicken Inn, a popular restaurant in Wyandotte Town Centre that is owned by a Chaldean family. The name may sound familiar to some — Hermiz Hermiz founded the restaurant in Baghdad 45 years ago; I covered that story in 2016. While pacha isn't on the menu due to the time and cost involved, it is available by special order. 

While most tend to make the dish at home, Chicken Inn does get 10-15 orders for pacha during the holiday season. After the various parts of lamb are marinated for a day in a mixture of vinegar, salt and yogurt, the intestines and stomach are stuffed with a mixture of lamb, garlic and ground beef. 

The meat and bones, including the lamb head, is then boiled in water and spices, creating a flavourful, hearty broth. When I sat down to eat the pacha with Hermiz and his son Livon Mekho, who now co-owns the restaurant with brother Waleed, some of the lamb was served on a platter, and some was served in a bowl with strips of tanoor flatbread and topped with broth. 

Lemon and lime wedges are served on the side, allowing one to squeeze juice on the meat. While mild in flavour, the dish is incredibly hearty, perfect for cold winter months. It totally make sense as a Christmas dish. 

My favourite part of the lamb was the boombar, essentially a lamb sausage filled with rice, but I have to say that the lamb tongue was rather nice, too. As we were eating, I asked Mekho what people usually drink with this heavy, meaty feast. 

The answer? Apparently, an ice cold Corona — yes, the Mexican beer — is the perfect accompaniment for pacha. "It gives it that extra lime taste that pacha deserves to have," he said. "Honestly, having a drink ... and eating food? What can be better than that?" 

by Jonathan Pinto


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