Over the last year or so I’ve become a huge fan of lamb. The first time I had it was in 2001 when I was studying abroad in London. On a long weekend trip through Ireland, our bus group was treated to a meal of Irish stew in a small pub in Donegal. It was perhaps the most delicious thing I ate that year (though the chicken tikka kebab with the garlic mayo and salad at Star Kebab on Earl’s Court Road was pretty damn close).
When I moved to Baltimore, I rediscovered how much I loved lamb. Again, it was all thanks to some Irish stew. From thereon in, I always make sure to stock up on cuts of lamb when I’m at the grocery store and I find it on sale. It’s delicious in red curries, in the aforementioned stew, as well as stuffed into some phyllo dough.
I had lately been feeling bored with the food I was preparing on a weekly basis. I’ve expanded my repertoire, but tended to go back to those old tried-and-trues.
As usual, Allrecipes.com came to the rescue with their ingredient search. I had lamb. I had phyllo dough. I had feta. I assumed there was something Greek-like for me to prepare, and the search led me to a recipe for some kreatopita argostoli.
With more or less the right ingredients at hand I started my prep, adding and subtracting as I am wont to do. I only did a half recipe (which is what I have listed below) because it was more than enough for the dish. I can’t imagine eating what was called for in the full recipe.
I didn’t have most of the fresh herbs required on hand, so instead I used dried oregano and parsley, and about half of what was called for since it was dried. I’m sure fresh ingredients would make it even better, but again, you have to work with what you have sometimes.
- 12 sheets phyllo dough
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 cups cubed cooked lamb
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, quartered
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and chop.
- Lightly brush a 9×13 inch pan with melted butter. Place 1 phyllo sheet in pan and lightly brush with butter. Continue adding phyllo sheets for a total of 6, brushing each one lightly with butter.
- Cut lamb into 1/2 inch cubes. Cook until lightly browned. (I also seasoned it with salt and pepper and covered the meat in some flour before I cooked it).
- Spread cooked rice over phyllo, then sprinkle with minced garlic. Add lamb in an even layer, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Place 1 cup diced potatoes over lamb.
- Arrange quarters of eggs, then sprinkle with parsley, mint and lemon zest. Add crumbled feta cheese.
- Pour on olive oil and beef broth. Sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Finally, add beaten egg.
- Top with remaining 6 phyllo sheets brushed lightly with melted butter.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). during the last 10 minutes, raise the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut into diamonds or squares and serve warm.