It is definitely going to be a different Easter this year… Meaning with the lock down and all… I was skeptical about mentioning this Coronavirus situation in a blog post. Because this blog post is going to be here for a long time while this situation is going to be resolved in the very near future (hopefully within the next months). And I’m guessing anyone who comes upon a recipe for Lamb Stew, wouldn’t want to be reminded of this awful time that we are going through right now. But it is what it is, and what we “would want” to remember, is that through every hard situation in our lives, we will always come out stronger!
Anyways, back to the Easter talk…
In Greece, tradition has it that for the Easter table we cook a lamb on the spit. And since this is done on a bbq outside, (which is forbidden and comes with a fee this year) there will be lamb alright, cooked differently though (there is no Greek Easter without lamb!).
And yes, slow cooking lamb in the oven may be the easiest alternative and a very tasty one indeed, but there are also other delicious ways to cook lamb.
The Greek Lamb Stew
Like this hearty, comforting Lamb stew that we call Arnaki Fricase. And is basically a Greek version of a French Fricase. So this lamb stew is made with greens like plenty of lettuce and celery, spring onions and leek, and a bit of dill. After it has simmered to the point it falls off the bone, the stew gets slightly thickened using egg & lemon.
The flavor of this stew is also similar to a traditional soup we make here in Greece and we call Magiritsa. It is served the night before Easter. To celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the end of the 40 days of lent (which only a few very religious people follow nowadays). Now I won’t be uploading a recipe for that, because a.) you probably won’t be able to find the ingredients for making it, and b.) you probably wouldn’t even want to try it!
Since it is made with the various innards of the lamb (I won’t go into detail here) also, lettuce, dill, rice, egg & lemon. And believe it or not, it tastes really good and we do wait for a whole year-round to taste it again (not sure if you’re going to trust my opinion on flavors after this statement)!
Though I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this, difficult times call for some nutritious comfort food. And this Lamb Stew is definitely it!
Health Benefits & Nutrition
Furthermore, let me give you a few extra reasons why you would want to make it…
- It contains collagen (released from the bones that are slowly cooked) which restores & keeps a healthy gut lining (the base of your immune system).
- Also, the lemons contain Vitamin C (the most important Vitamin in fighting viruses and infections).
- + Eggs which according to Healthline article here, are one of the few foods that should be classified as a Superfood.
- And the various greens are loaded with Vitamins and fiber that again help keep a healthy gut and also improve the overall function of your digestive tract.
In conclusion? Arnaki Fricase, or Lamb Stew is a very healthy dish that’s also very appetizing. So grab a glass of citrus-flavored white wine (if you’re into wine pairing), and some old fashioned artisan bread and enjoy this truly hearty stew!
Greek Lamb Stew Recipe In Egg Lemon Sauce (Arnaki Fricase)
- 2 kg / 4 lb +6,5 oz of lamb shanks or neck parts with bone
- ⅓ leek finely chopped
- 1 small red onion minced
- 4 big sticks of celery cut into smaller sticks (the size of your finger)
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
- 2 large or about 1 kg (2lb + 3oz) of lettuce
- 1 lemon juiced + zested
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill + extra to garnish on top
- olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large cooking pot over high heat.
- Add the onion, spring onions and leeks and cook until caramelized and softened.
- Add the lamb parts and saute for a minute or two on each side.
- Cover with water and simmer over medium-low heat (covered) until lamb becomes very soft and tender.
- Half-fill another cooking pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a sprinkle of salt.
- Boil the celery sticks for 2-3 minutes. Then remove and transfer to the pot containing the lamb. (this is done so the flavor of the celery won't be too overwhelming) Simmer for 10 minutes more.
- Season the stew with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the dill as well.
- Make sure there is enough water in the pot to almost cover the lamb. Then add the lettuce leaves by cutting them in half and pushing them down into the liquid using a wooden spatula. Once you've added all the lettuce put the lid back on and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Or until the lettuce and celery are tender enough.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk the eggs until they start to get all foamy and just a hint thickened. Remove the pot with the stew from heat.
- Using a ladle, take a spoonful of just the liquid of the stew and slowly incorporate it into the eggs while whisking the eggs constantly. Do this until you incorporate almost all of the liquid. NOTE: Pour the hot liquid into the eggs starting with small drops so you won't burn the eggs. You may also place a wet sponge cloth at bottom of the mixing bowel so it will stay in place while you whisk and pour.
- Whisk in the lemon juice and zest and then transfer back into the pot. Shake pot for mixture to spread all over.
- Serve with some fresh chopped dill on top and freshly ground pepper.
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