Roasted Leg of Lamb with North-African Spices, Lemon, and Onions

Adapted from Mediterranean Hot and Spicy

I call this herb and spice rub ‘North-African’ because besides the classic oregano and rosemary, it contains such Tunisian and Moroccan spices as caraway, cumin, and turmeric. In addition it is spiked with harissa, the ubiquitous hot pepper paste, that is to Arab North-Africa what chili oil is to Asia.

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With the same spice mixture you can rub poultry, beef, or pork, two to three hours before grilling, and leave at room temperature. Or you can mix 3 tablespoons of this rub with 3 tablespoons thick yogurt and baste chicken breast or legs, or skewered lamb and pork, before grilling. Better yet, leave in the refrigerator overnight, in the spicy yogurt marinade.

Makes 6 servings (more…)

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MAGIRITSA –Easter Lamb Soup

Adapted from The Foods of Greece (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang).

Magiritsa is traditionally made with the parts of the lamb not used for spit-roasting. Remember that Greek Easter lambs are very small (about 24 pounds). In the classic recipe, all the innards –heart, lungs, and so forth– go into the pot, but they do not really contribute to taste. The flavor of the stock comes from the boiled head and neck, and the soup gets its distinctive taste from scallions, fresh dill, and egg-and-lemon sauce. There are lots of different magiritsa recipes.

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A friend described to me the one her family prepared in Halki, a small island in the Dodecanese. In her family’s version, no innards are used because, on Halki as on all the Dodecanese islands, people do not roast the lamb on a spit, but slow roast it in a wood-burning oven, stuffing the cavity with rice and chopped innards. In Halki’s magiritsa, many lamb’s heads were boiled to make a very tasty stock. The heads were not boned, but as they cooked for many hours, even the bones softened. Each member of the family got one head and ate it with the broth. No scallions or dill were added to that unusual magiritsa. (more…)

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Aglaia’s Mousaka

My Mousaka with layers of eggplants, potatoes, and peppers, is topped with yogurt and olive oil béchamel.   Read HERE the origin of this iconic Greek dish.

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I serve large spoonfuls, as with gratin dishes, and not perfectly cut squares. If you prefer a more elegant presentation make it in individual portions. I recently added the spicy and smoky Kea sausage to the lamb, to deepen and enriche the flavor.

Makes 6 servings (more…)

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