Lamb: Greek Lamb Stew with Romaine Lettuce & Dill - meat

Posted by : Karen Selwyn

This recipe is from a yet-to-be-published cookbook, HIGH-FLAVOR, LOW-FAT
JEWISH COOKING, which will be available in September 2001. The author,
Steven Raichlen, had the following comments about the recipe: "My Aunt
Rosa Miller is an extraordinary Sephardic cook. But because I was a
finicky eater when I was young, I used to dread going to her house for
dinner. Rosa was forever serving `weird' foods like feta cheese or
chick-peas, and as she was European (Greek to be precise), one simply
did not leave food on one's plate. In my later years, I have come to
cherish Aunt Rosa's cooking and that of her nonagenarian mother, Lily.
This hearty stew was popular among Greek Jews at Passover, a time that
corresponded with the first of the year's romaine lettuce crop."

Karen Selwyn

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Greek Lamb Stew with Romaine Lettuce and Dill

Note: The lettuce and dill offset the richness of the lamb, making this
one of the most refreshing stews ever to grace a dinner plate.

3 pounds lamb cut it into 1 1/2 inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large heads romaine lettuce, separated into leaves, washed and dried
1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped (leave 6 sprigs whole for garnish)
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste 
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste

Trim as much fat as possible from the lamb. Season well with salt and
pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick saute pan and
thoroughly brown the lamb on all sides over high heat, working in
several batches so as not to crowd the pan, adding oil as needed. Pour
off all excess fat.

Return the lamb to the pan and add 1 inch water (2 to 3 cups). Bring the
lamb to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and gently simmer the
lamb until tender, about 1 hour. (Add water as needed to keep the lamb
moist.) Transfer the lamb to a platter with a slotted spoon, reserving
the cooking liquid in the pan.

Cut the lettuce leaves into 2-inch squares, leaving 8 large leaves whole
for garnish. Add the diced lettuce, dill, scallions, and lemon juice to
the pan with the cooking liquid. Briskly simmer these ingredients,
covered, until the lettuce is tender, about 5 minutes. You should have
about 2 cups cooking liquid. (You may need to uncover the pan after a
few minutes to evaporate any excess liquid.) 

Return the lamb to the pan and simmer until thoroughly heated. Add the
sugar and salt and pepper to taste. (If extra tartness is desired, you
can add a little extra lemon juice as well.) 

Arrange the whole lettuce leaves on a platter and mound the stew in the
center. Garnish with whole sprigs of dill. 

Makes 8 servings.

Future Source: High-Flavor, Low-Fat Jewish Cooking 

Current Source: "A heart-healthy Passover menu"
                 MIAMI HERALD (on-line edition), 3/30/99

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