Off the Beaten Path: Bone-In Uzbeki Meat Pie
As a resident of the Queens nabe known as Rego Park-istan, due to its high concentration of Uzbekis and other Central Asian immigrants, I’m no stranger to the savory pies known as samcy (or samsa). Usually these pies come stuffed with fatty bits of lamb, and occasionally you'll find versions packed with pumpkin, but the other night I happened upon a strange and wondrous samcy, at an Uzbeki spot called Cheburechnaya.
Named for the crescent-shaped pastry called chebureki, Cheburechnaya clearly wants you to know what they specialize in. But after seeing "samcy with ribs" on the menu, I almost fell out of my chair with interest. When the pies arrived, I discovered the name "ribs" is misleading, since there was only one rib bone sticking out of each triangular pastry- but considering how tasty and bizarre the meat pies were, it was forgiveable.
Encased in rings of flaky golden-brown crust resembling a sesame-studded contour map, I picked one up by the bone and bit into the hefty package. Steam scented with cumin-infused lamby goodness wafted out, and I was surprised to discover that this mutant pie was not filled with a single meat tipped lamb rib; instead it was heftily packed with chunks of lamb and chopped onion. The best part of the whole thing comes after you've dispatched all the pastry and meat, and all that's left is the primal pleasure of gnawing tiny bits of flesh and fat off the meat pie "handle".
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