Can you guess what will probably be the main course on a Greek celebration/holiday table? And yes, most likely it will be lamb. Whether it's a wedding, christening, name day, Easter table, Christmas or New Year's celebration lamb is a must for most Greeks.
The Greek Lamb Stew
Like this hearty and cozy Lamb stew that we call Arnaki Fricassee. And is basically a Greek version of a French Fricassee. 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 one, (that is after trying this dish), it's a hearty yet healthy stew full of flavors.
The light and appetizing flavor of the greens together with the lemon create the perfect contrast to the heavy and very filling flavor of lamb. Resulting in a stew with a light taste yet very filling. Plus, the delicious egg-lemon sauce turns this stew into a truly top-notch comfort food!
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 antioxidants!
So whether there is a holiday coming up or a family feast where you want to make something special you should definitely try this Lamb Fricassee. Even if it's in the middle of winter and you want something cozy, or during Spring (where all the fresh greens get harvested) it's always a good time to make it. Because this lamb stew is perfect for any season!
Greek Lamb Stew With Egg Lemon Sauce (Arnaki Fricassee)
- 2 kg / 4 lb +6,5 oz of lamb shanks or neck parts with bone
- ⅓ leek (the white part) finely chopped
- 1 small red onion minced
- 4 big (at least 300 grams) sticks of celery with their leaves on chanky chopped
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
- 2 green garlic's (or two garlic cloves) 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 lamb and sear all over until it gets a golden-brownish color. To do this properly don't flip the meat pieces too often. Instead, give them a few minutes time before each turn to get the proper color.
- Then remove the meat from the pot and set aside in a large plate or dish. Drop heat to medium.
- Add the red onion and cook for a minute or two until softened a bit. Then add the leek, spring onions, and spring garlic (or garlic cloves) and cook for 2-3 minutes more until they soften and get golden in color.
- Add the lamb parts back to the pot and pour in enough water to cover the meat in the pot completely.
- Season with kosher salt and ground pepper and simmer over low heat covered for about 1 hour.
- Add the chopped celery to the pot and continue simmering the same way for 40 minutes more. Meanwhile, prepare the lettuce.
- Remove any outer dry leaves from the lettuce. As well as the harder white parts at the base of the leaves. These tend to taste a bit bitter sometimes. Wash and rinse the lettuce very well then transfer to a strainer placing them in order to stand and drain most of the water.
- Then chunky chop the lettuce and add to the pot. Add the dill in as well. Put the lid back on and simmer for 15-20 minutes more.
- Check the stew for any additional seasoning and then take the pot off the heat.
- In a small saucepan add the eggs and beat them lightly with a hand whisk until foamy and just a hint thickened.
- Using a ladle remove 500 ml hot liquid from the pot and add it to a measuring pitcher. Try not to get any bits of greens along with the liquid.
- Add ½ of cold water to the liquid in order to drop its temperature a bit. Then start to pour it slowly into the eggs threadlike. While you constantly beat and mix the eggs with the hand whisk. Do this until all the liquid from the pitcher incorporates with the eggs.
- Add the lemon juice and zest to the saucepan as well. Then heat this mixture over medium-low heat stirring occasionally with the hand whisk. Wait until it gets steamy hot then pour back in the pot with the meat.
- Bring the pot back on the heat. Turn heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes for the sauce to combine with the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Shake the pot a bit to help it. Then remove from heat and you are ready to serve.
- Don't forget to add plenty of freshly ground pepper on top and chopped dill. And a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon as well, if you like it a bit sourish.
- NOTE: The sauce in this dish is more soup-like. If you want a more creamy sauce you can mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into the eggs right before you start to add the hot liquid to them.
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