braised lamb shoulder with olives and lemon

The part of Sydney in which I work has a large mostly elderly Greek population. I walk past the Greek Church on my way to work. I buy my Turkish and olive bread from the local Greek bakery and chat to my patients about Greek cooking, but I rarely cook or eat Greek food. That all changed with last year's Gourmet Traveller's Greek issue. I've made quite a few of the dishes featured in the magazine but this recipe for braised lamb shoulder is one I keep cooking again and again.

Every time I see boned lamb shoulder at my local market I pick some up so there's always lamb shoulder in the freezer. Most of the other ingredients I have on hand and my favourite Dodoni feta I pick up at the local fruit shop or deli.

I've adapted the recipe a little over the past few months. I brown the cubed lamb first in a casserole then deglaze the pan with white wine. That one step reduces the cooking time by an hour. I find using a whole lemon makes the dish too bitter so instead I use some peeled lemon rind and the juice of the lemon. Cooking the braised lamb in a casserole keeps the lamb moist during the long cooking process and there's only one pot to wash and what could be better than that!

Eventually the feta in the sauce completely disappears forming a delicious sauce. The recipe suggests serving the casserole with a yoghurt sauce and potatoes but I love it served with some orzo, olive bread and a simple salad of greens.

Here's the original recipe for you -
Kouklas’ Braised Lamb Shoulder with Olives and Lemons
Recipe by Cathy McCarthy, Gravelly Beach Tasmania from Gourmet Traveller Greek Issue October 2011
printable recipe 

Prep time 25 mins, cook 4 hrs, serves 6
1.5 kg piece of boneless lamb shoulder trimmed and cut into 4 cm pieces
250 gm cherry tomatoes, halved
200 gm pitted Kalamata olives
200 ml dry white wine
200 gm Greek feta, coarsely crumbled
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 lemons halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp dried Greek oregano
3 fresh bay leaves

Yoghurt sauce
200 gm thick Greek-style yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp mint, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, season to taste and spread in a large deep baking dish. Cover with baking paper then foil and roast until lamb is tender (3½ - 4 hours)

2. Meanwhile, for yoghurt sauce, combine the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.

Serve lamb hot with yoghurt sauce, green leaf salad and steamed baby potatoes seasoned to taste and scattered with flat leaf parsley.

Have a great weekend. Bye for now,


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