Tag Archives: lamb

Pastitsio

This is the second installment of the Greek inspired recent dishes, which has always been my favorite Greek dish.  Pastitsio is often described as a Greek lasagna which is fairly accurate.  This was a combination of a few recipes as they all differed quite a bit.  Either way, it is not a beginner recipe but it seriously may have been the best thing we have ever made!  I even met a new cheese in the process.

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Greek Feast!

If you are a fan of Greek food I am pretty sure you will really like this meal. It is relatively easy to prepare and the flavors are intense and extremely satisfying. We made gyro burgers, which were composed of ground beef and lamb as well as some traditional Greek spices. We also prepared homemade tzatziki sauce and  a Greek salad of tomato, cucumber, red onion and fete cheese. It all went well together and you could also serve the burgers in a pita or flatbread if you so desired.

I will begin with the tzatziki sauce, which is a traditional sauce served with gyros that is made with yogurt and cucumber and is awesome.

The key ingredient here is mint. Luckily mint grows like weeds and we have plenty growing outside!

I just combined all the ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator while we prepared the rest of the meal. Below is a pic of the final product. Not only is this a great sauce to put on whatever you please, really, but can also be served as a dip with pita or veggies. It is so good.

Along with the burgers we also prepared a Greek salad. I love this salad, especially in the summer when the vegetables are nice and fresh. It is a great accompaniment to any meat, really, and goes particularly well with the strongly flavored lamb.

Now, on to the burgers! I’ll let the pictures do the talking here….

The meat had a gyro like consistency as you can see below (sorry, it’s a bit blurry) and of course the flavor was right on.

Give this one a try!

Recipe for Gyro Burgers

Tzatziki

Greek Salad

Lamb Shanks Braised in Wine Sauce

You know how when you cook something all day and then when it’s finally ready you don’t take the time to get a good picture? Yeah. That’s what happened here. This also happens to be the smallest of the four lamb shanks we had. Bad picture taking, bad.

In any event, I still wanted to share the recipe, despite the less than desirable way that this photo depicts this meal, because the taste was great and that’s what really counts.

I bought the lamb shanks from the farmer’s market and promptly contacted my dad for a proper recipe. He sent me one from Emeril and it did not disappoint. Greg also made carrots braised in beer and carrot juice, a recipe he tweaked from this one. He added some of his own touches and threw in some broccoli at the end for added veggie power.

To the shanks!

Here they are. There are actually four of them pictured here and they have been sprinkled with cajun seasoning. Emeril calls for “creole seasoning” but I don’t have that in my spice drawer. What I did have though was “cajun” and so we went with that.

I got the dutch oven nice and hot and added some olive oil. When the olive oil was sufficiently hot, I added the shanks to get a nice brown sear on all sides.

Next, I added chopped carrots, onions, and celery to the mix.

Hmmm… what’s missing from this picture? Yeah, the shanks! Guess I didn’t read the recipe well (I looked at a few recipes that day and must have gotten them mixed up) as it says to leave the shanks in when you add the carrots, onions, and celery. Woops.

Next, I added a diced tomato, garlic, wine, stock, thyme and some bay leaves.

Gave it a good stir and look who’s back…. the shanks!

After a frenzied few minutes, it was then time to put the lid on and turn the burner down to low for a long slow simmer.

The shanks braised for nearly two hours.

This is pretty much what they looked like after that time.

The broth or braising liquid was so flavorful. it never did reach a “syrup” like consistency, but it was so good that I considered saving it for something, though I don’t know what. It was amazing though….

To continue with the braising theme, Greg prepped the veggies.

It just would not be a Greg-made dish if onions, garlic and jalapenos were not part of the mix!

The carrots braised in beer and carrot juice and he added a little butter near the end of cooking to make the sauce thicker. The broccoli was a last minute addition.

Despite the fact that the shank looks like a lamb lollipop it was super good! I served it with a small side cup of the braising liquid to dip so each bite had the full effect. The meat was fall off the bone tender and it tasted so fresh and not gamey at all. I am dying to make that mint orzo that Emeril suggests to accompany this with one day. Not only would the flavor and texture be a great match, but it could soak up some of that broth, mmm.

Overall, this recipe was pretty easy to make and once you get it going you can walk away and do other things… so not too labor intensive.