GREEK REGIONAL EASTER LAMB & GOAT RECIPES
Cretan Braised Lamb & Greens with Egg-Lemon Sauce - Arni Fricasse
This dish is made all over Greece, but this particular version, the original of which calls for a wild Cretan chicory called askolimbrous is from Crete. You can use any sweet or even bitter green for this. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 1/2 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder cut into stewing pieces
- 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
- 2 1/2 pounds trimmed greens any combination of spinach, chard, chicory, sorrel, wild fennel, vine shoots, bryony, or thistles
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce
- 2 large eggs
- Fresh strained juice of 2 lemons
- Heat the olive oil in a large wide stewing pot and add the lamb. Brown on all sides over medium-high heat. Remove and set aside. Add the onions to the pot and saute, stirring, over medium heat until translucent, about eight minutes. Place the meat back in the pot and stir together with the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Add enough water just to cover the lamb. Cover the pot and simmer for about one and a half hours.
- In the meantime, wash and drain the greens. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and blanch the greens for a few minutes to wilt. Drain and rinse under cold water in a colander. Add the greens to the lamb and continue cooking for another half hour. Add more water during cooking if necessary. There should always be liquid in the pot.
- Make the avgolemono: Using a wire whisk, beat the eggs and lemon together until frothy and then take a ladleful of pot juices and add them to the egg mixture in a slow steady stream, whisking all the while. Pour the avgolemono into the pot, remove from heat, and tilt pan so that the sauce is evenly distributed. Serve immediately.
Try serving this with my Greek yiayia's roasted potatoes.
Lamb Baked in Greek Yogurt
In the northern parts of Greece, all sorts of meats, from chicken to savory meatballs to lamb and goat, are cooked in sauces based on the local, delicious, thick, strained sheep’s milk yogurt. This dish comes from the traditional cooking of the Vlachs, a once itinerant shepherd tribe, and is sometimes called vlachiko. I have modified this recipe by using boneless lamb instead of leg of lamb and replacing some of the butter with olive oil when browning the meat and vegetables.To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 2 tablespoons/30 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 tablespoon/14 g butter
- 1 pound/450 g boneless lamb or goat cut into serving sizes
- 4 scallions trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup parboiled rice
- 1/2 cup/120 ml white wine
- 1 cup/240 ml water
- Salt and pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups/480 ml strained Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons grated kefalotyri cheese optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, wide pan over medium-high heat and brown the lamb pieces, turning to color evenly. Add the scallions and stir until soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the rice and pour in the wine and water. As soon as the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, season the contents of the pot with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Whisk the eggs until creamy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and flour. Whisk the yogurt mixture into the eggs and stir in the chopped mint. Season lightly with a little salt.
- Place the lamb mixture in a clay or ovenproof glass or ceramic baking dish about 3 inches/8 cm deep. Spread the yogurt mixture evenly over the meat. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the yogurt is set and lightly browned on top and then cover and cook for another 45 minutes until the lamb tender. Ten minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle, if desired, with grated kefalotyri cheese.
Adapted from The Country Cooking of Greece
Aegean Island Easter Goat Stuffed with Rice, Pine Nuts & Raisins - Byzanti
This wonderful dish, from Kalymnos in the Dodecanese, is a classic Greek island Easter recipe. Easter in the Aegean is a feast not of spit-roasted lamb—the cliché image of the Greek paschal table—but of stuffed, wild island goat. Spring herbs, especially wild fennel, nuts, rice, spring onions, and sometimes cheese go into the mix, which is then stuffed into the cavity of the goat before baking it, typically in a wood-burning oven. I have never been able to trace the root of the name of this unique stuffed island goat recipe, which hails from the remote island of Karpathos and is seasoned most unusually with cloves, a spice reserved for the pastry kitchen in most of the rest of Greece. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 1 whole milk-fed goat about 10 pounds/5 kilos, plus viscera (liver, kidneys, and lungs)
- 3 lemons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 10 scallions finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
- ½ tablespoon ground cloves
- 4 cups short grain rice
- 4 cups tomatoes plus juices finely chopped
- 1 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 3 cups fresh dill finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190C).
- Rinse the goat very well inside and out. Pat dry. Cut the lemons in half and rub them over the body and inside the cavity of the lamb, squeezing as you go. Season the lamb or goat generously with salt. Set aside.
- Rinse, drain, and finely chop the liver, kidneys and lungs. Heat half the olive oil and butter in a large, wide pot over medium heat and cook the chopped viscera until lightly browned. Add the scallions and garlic and cook until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the spices and stir for a minute or so to release their aroma. Pour in the tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid is reduced by about half. The mixture should be loose. Add the pine nuts, raisins, and dill. Set aside to cool.
- Carefully stuff the cavity of the goat with the rice mixture. Sew it closed with a large needle and thread. Rub the goat with remaining butter and olive oil and season the outside generously with salt and pepper. Roast uncovered for one hour to brown. Reduce heat to 300˚F/150˚C and continue roasting slowly for another 2 to 3 hours, or until the goat is very tender.
Halkidiki-Style Easter Lamb, Baked over Herbed Rice - Psima
Lamb and goat baked over vegetables are Easter specialties in various parts of Macedonia. In Pella and Goumenissa, for example, a similar dish calls for baking the meat in an egg crust over scallions. This dish, called Psima in local parlance, is also baked over a hearty layer of vegetables and rice and made even more flavourful with the addition of raisins, a traditional product in Halkidiki. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 1 pound/1/2 kilo lamb’s liver optional, trimmed of membranes
- 4 ½ pounds/2 ¼ kilos lamb shoulder bone-in, trimmed of fat and cut into stewing-size pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- ¼ cup/1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 2 pounds/1 kilo spring onions or scallions white and green parts, cleaned and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces
- 1 cup short-grain rice
- 1 cup golden seedless raisins
- 1 cup chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 3 ½ cups water
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F/ 190˚C and lightly oil a large baking pan.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and blanch the liver, if using, for 5 to 8 minutes until it has changed color completely. Remove and finely chop.
- Wash, trim, and pat dry the meat with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat and sear the meat, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from the pot.
- Using the same pot add the butter and sauté the spring onions, rice, raisins and herbs, and season with salt and black pepper. Add the chopped liver to the rice mixture.
- Spread the rice mixture over the bottom of the pan and place the meat on top. Pour in the water. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours, adding more water to the rice mixture if necessary. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and serve.