A rustic lamb fricassee with tender chunks of lamb, greens, artichokes and a delicious Greek avgolemono sauce is a hearty stew for a cold winter night.
We are such unbelievable creatures of habit. Our tendency is to return to the same restaurants again and again, often ordering the sames dishes. Don’t get me wrong, we love to try new places. But the majority of the time, we hit our favorite spots for our favorite dishes. For several years, we always went to the same little Greek place and one of us always got this lemony lamb fricassee with artichokes. I’ve made a lamb shank dish with similar flavors, but it wasn’t quite right.
Then I stumbled across a recipe in Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes that sounds close. But there were a few differences, like no artichokes for one. So I tweaked it, as I am prone to do. And ta-da! We were right back at that little Greek place, except this time in the comfort of our own kitchen. Avgolemono is a very common Greek sauce made from eggs and lemon juice. The eggs and juice are stirred into the dish at the very end. The yolks add a luxurious richness and the lemon adds a hit of acid that cuts right though it. The results are outstanding (and incredibly easy).
- 2½ pounds boned leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1½ inch pieces
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 bunches of scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 large head of romaine lettuce, washed and finely shredded
- A small bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 bag of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
- Season the lamb with salt.
- Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and cook the lamb in batches until brown all over. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the onions, garlic and scallions to the pan and cook until softened, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Return the meat to the pan.
- Stir in the lettuce and all but a couple teaspoons of the dill and cook until the lettuce has wilted. Season with salt and pepper and add water just to cover the meat.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook at a low simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.
- Add the artichokes and cook uncovered for 30 minutes more.
- Whisk together the eggs and lemon juice.
- Remove the stew from the heat and stir in the yogurt, then stir in the avgolemono. Don't over stir or the eggs will set.
- Check the seasoning and add more lemon juice, salt and pepper as needed.
- Sprinkle the reserved dill over the top and serve immediately.