Early this past summer, I received a package in the mail that came all the way from Hania, Crete. It was sent to me by Maria, of Organically Cooked, who had posted a short quiz on her site and then “raffled” a Cretan cookbook as a reward for participating.
The book is Myrsini Lambraki’s Cretan Cuisine for Everyone and I’ve enjoyed leafing through its pages and reading about the hearty, rustic, often simple dishes it has to offer in addition to its insights on the ever healthy Cretan diet. I’ve prepared a few things to date one of which is this Lamb Casserole of sorts.
The recipe in Lambraki’s book is named “Casserole Youvetsi with Vegetables and Lamb or Tourlou.” I made a few changes to suit seasonal vegetable availability and what was in our pantry. This dish turned out delicious–rustic, full of flavor and simple to make. I made this early yesterday morning (for yesterday evening’s dinner) and I am certain it got better over the course of the day as these types of dishes often do.
Rustic Lamb with Greens Beans, New Potatoes, Carrots and Tomato
Adapted from a recipe in Myrsini Lambraki’s Cretan Cuisine for Everyone
2 lbs. shoulder lamb chops
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of baby carrots
8 to 10 small new potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
1 lb. flat green beans, trimmed and rinsed
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
Juice of a lemon
1 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, left whole
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or deep skillet over medium heat. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper then sear them on both sides in the hot oil. Remove the lamb chops to a plate or bowl and set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the pot/skillet and saute until softened. Stir in the carrots and potatoes and cook a minute more. Add the green beans and the chopped tomatoes along with the dill and some salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Uncover the pot/skillet and stir the lemon juice into the green beans along with the cherry/grape tomatoes and dill. Lay the lamb chops over the green bean mixture, cover the pot/skillet and continue to cook for about 45 to 50 minutes longer or until the green beans are cooked very w anell and the potatoes are fork tender.