A few years ago when Peter & I were still living in TO we ventured to Greektown & had the best damn Lamb dish ever. A Greek Chef taught me this recipe (after sitting on the patio with us pouring endless glasses of Ouzo)- I swear, I have made this dish countless times & it never disappoints.
Even people who say they don’t like Lamb flip out over this recipe. Because it’s so slowly Braised the lamb loses a lot of its gaminess that most people don’t like. But the sauce this recipe creates- people, it’s pure gold. Don’t throw out the left over sauce! Flash freeze it, serve it over gnocchi or on toasted ciabatta another day. If you are going to invest several hours & good wine in a dish, you know the hours of love is going to give you the best sauce ever.
I even made this dish, using chicken, for my own Wedding Reception. Plates were licked clean!
This is a perfect dish for Easter, when you have a gaggle of people showing up & you actually want to be a part of the party. It’s so damn easy & at the 3 hour point your house starts smelling like the best Greek Restaurant & your guests will be visible start drooling!
I love serving this lamb over lemon & oregano roasted potatoes (mashed is amazing too), Papardalle pasta, potato gnocchi & with a bright arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette.
Best Braised Greek Lamb
Preheat oven to 350.
Get a good leg of lamb from your butcher (best butcher in Kingston is Pig & Olive- Alan & the guys are the best). Leave it at room temp for about an hour. Pat dry, place in a deep roasting pan, drizzle all over with olive oil. Salt, pepper generously, then rub with garlic powder & dried rosemary on both sides.
Usually I get a 6 pound leg of lamb which serves a generous group of people.
To the roasting pan I add 4 large cans of crushed tomatoes, 1 whole bottle of good red wine, cut 1 whole garlic clove in half, break the cloves apart & add to the pan.
Add about 2 large cups of black olives (pitted or not)- even if you aren’t a big fan of olives, these olives perfume the sauce in a Savoury & subtle way. Take 2 large bunches of rosemary, 2 large bunches of Parsley, roughly chopped, add to the roasting pan. Crumble in 1 cup of feta. A generous sprinkle of salt & pepper.
Give everything a good mix, make sure you drizzle some sauce over the lamb. Cover tightly with foil. The sauce may seem watery & smell winey at this point but trust me, time & patience will work on that.
Cook at 350 for 2 hours. Reduce heat to 325. Cook at this temp for an additional 3 hours. At one at point, at about 4 hours in, lift the foil, stir sauce. The meat should be falling from the bone. I usually say 5-6 hours has the meat just perfect melt in your mouth.
The great thing about this recipe is you can turn off the oven completely while you get the other side dishes ready. The lamb continues to braise, stays super hot & won’t dry out.
The best way to finish the dish- a little more crumbled feta on top, chopped fresh rosemary & Parsley & some lemon zest for zing.
I’ll always be grateful for that great Greek Chef sharing his recipe over a bottle of Ouzo all those years ago!
Pass this one along- it’s a keeper!
Be Well, Tamara