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BYZANTI is an Aegean island Easter dish of lamb or goat stuffed with rice

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.
SERVES 10

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190C).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.