You'd be forgiven in thinking that lamb is the only meat I cook on the blog.
I know I've featured it numerous times but the truth is, like anything else in my life-there is a balance.
But I think I may be partly at fault here, making you think that ALL Greeks are made lamb eaters.
Maybe it's those images of slaughtered lamb on the spit at Easter time that have ironed this idea in people’s minds.
And yes, Easter is that one grand celebration where lamb is the featured star.
When people find out my heritage, one of the many comments I hear is “I had the best lamb in Greece...made with oregano, lemon juice and olive oil”-that famous holy trinity I wrote about, eons ago.
Let's deviate from the common to something a little different.
Today’s dish is a stew I only discovered recently. Lamb fricassee is a mixture of lamb, cooked lettuce (and other greens) finished off with that other famous Greek sauce, avgolemono. (the sauce I use to finish off my giouvarlakia).
Lettuce in a stew?
I wasn't convinced initially.
To me, lettuce (and specifically iceberg lettuce) is a food I associate with warmer temperatures. It forms the basis of many a salad.
It's vibrant and green.
Why on earth would you want to cook this down and change the best things about it?
For this lamb fricasse recipe, the cos lettuce competes head to head with the lamb.
Once it cooks down it takes on this subtle sweetness, adding a softness to an otherwise robust stew.
I know there are dishes that feature cooked lettuce and to be honest I'd never really paid much attention.
This one combines some aromatic dill and mild spring onions and gets finished off with that ubiquitous Greek avgolemono sauce.
It’s not the prettiest of dishes. (beige is not really my colour!).
But it's certainly very satisfying and warms up the insides on a cold, rainy day like today.
Lamb Fricassee Recipe
- 1 kilo leg of lamb, trimmed of any excess and cut into cubes
- 3 big bunches of spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 large or two small heads of cos lettuce finely shredded
- enough water to cover the lamb
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 small eggs
- juice of half a lemon
- Heat some olive oil in a medium to large sauce pan and saute the lamb until browned.
- Add the spring onions, dill, parsley and lettuce and stir to combine thoroughly. Cook this off for approximately ten minutes or until the lettuce wilts.
- Cover the meat and greens with the water, season with salt and pepper and allow this to simmer for one hour or until the meat is fork tender.
- Once cooked set is aside to rest for ten minutes
- In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and lemon juice slowly ladling in some of the lamb fricassee broth (a ladle or two is fine). Be careful not to 'scramble' the egg mixture whilst doing this.
- Once whisked add the avgolemono back into the pot with the stew, give it a good stir and allow it to rest for a further five minutes before serving it with some crusty bread and garnished with some sprigs of fresh dill.
You may choose to substitute the water with chicken stock for a richer stew.