Lamb with Cracked Wheat

This rustic dish has its roots in the typical Greek farming community.


Chef: Sotiris Evangelou

Preparation & Cooking time: 50'

Serves: 2

This is a rustic dish defined by the principles of home economics. In a typical farming community, the father would sacrifice one of his lambs for the holidays, to bring guests and the extended family around the dinner table. Trahanas, a type of cracked wheat, is one of the first carbohydrates to be produced in Greek households, and it is made with fresh milk, usually – and since ages gone – in the field. Access to fresh ingredients and the mastery of the cook were what made every dish shine. The chef embellishes the traditional dish by adding nuts such as pine and pistachio to give the cracked wheat more texture, as well as sweet notes to the sour trahana and earthy lamb with dried fruits (stocked in most village pantries in their sun-dried versions). Plenty of herbs and spices like thyme, laurel and cumin, are also added.

INSTRUCTIONS

Preparing the meat
Rub the rack of lamb with salt, white pepper and cumin. In an oven-proof frying pan, heat the olive oil and brown the meat on all sides. Add the garlic, the peppercorns and half the spicy red pepper (saving the rest for the garnish). Once it is nicely browned all over, place in a preheated oven with the sprig of thyme at 180 Celsius for 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the cracked wheat.

Preparing the cracked wheat
In a saucepan, drizzle a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over high heat and sauté the spring onions for 2 minutes, adding the cracked wheat and cooking for an additional minute. Add the lemon rind, bay leaf, clove, allspice, salt and pepper. Pour in the wine and simmer, reducing heat to medium, until the alcohol has evaporated. Add water half a cup at a time, simmering until the cracked wheat is cooked, but still has a bit of bite. Near the end of cooking, add the dried fruits, nuts and parsley. Serve the lamb on a platter with the cracked wheat, and garnish with the spiny chicory and red pepper.

INGREDIENTS

For the lamb

  • 1 rack of lamb
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • ½ tsp powdered cumin
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 30 ml olive oil
  •  1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • Salt, white pepper

 For the cracked wheat

  • 120 gr sweet cracked wheat (trahana)
  • 4 prunes, diced
  • 4 dried apricots, diced
  • 30 gr sultanas
  • 30 gr Aegina pistachios
  • rind from 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 30 ml white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
  • 20 gr pine nuts
  • 2 clove buds
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • Salt, white pepper

 Garnish

  • 2 sprigs spiny chicory
  • 1 hot red pepper, finely chopped


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