Greek Lamb Stew

With Romaine Lettuce & Dill

(From a yet-to-be-published cookbook, High-Flavor, Low-Fat Jewish Cooking. The author, Steven Raichlen, says of 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.'' Contributed by Karen Selwyn <>)

Ingredients Directions
  • 3 pounds lamb, cut into 1½ 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
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1½ 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.

Yield: 8 servings.

Return to Sheep's Creek Farm Lamb Recipes page.

© 1999 Ronald Florence
Last modified: Wed Mar 31 09:30:17 EST 1999