Orthodox Easter recipes and tips by Nicole Papasavas from Stalactites in Melbourne

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Lamb was mainly eaten during times of celebration as it is expensive and only usually for special occasions. Orthodox Easter Sunday is a time of celebration and is held in spring in Greece, which is why spring lamb is the obvious choice.

A favourite way to cook lamb is by putting a full marinated lamb on the spit. Depending on each family’s tradition, sometimes the belly of the lamb is stuffed with lemony herbed potatoes and sewn up again, so they slowly cook inside and take on the flavour of the lamb.

Most people do not have a spit, so we try to recreate the flavours in an oven.

Oven baked lamb and potatoes lemonato

Ingredients

  • 1 full rack lamb with skin, flap etc (or alternatively a leg with bone or lamb shoulder)
  • 500ml lemon juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3-5 cups water
  • 6 cloves of garlic cut in ½ or 1/3.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoon salt (to taste)
  • ½ chopped brown onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-1.5 kilo desiree potatoes

Method

  1. Lay lamb rack in a large shallow baking tray.
  2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoons oregano, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/2 tablespoon paprika, ½ teaspoon cumin over lamb and ½ of the mustard and massage in.
  3. Flip the lamb over and repeat step 2.
  4. Pour 250ml cups lemon over lamb making sure all lamb has lemon juice over it by massaging spreading it while pouring.
  5. Slice slits in lamb and insert ½ cloves of garlic until all used up.
  6. Flip over to the side with the skin flap, this is the side to bake it on.
  7. Chop the onion and sprinkle over meat, pour 1 cup oil over meat and add water to tray until halfway. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 180 degrees Celsius.
  8. Chop the potatoes into quarters. In a bowl put potatoes and sprinkle 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon salt, ½ tablespoon of paprika and 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ½ cup lemon juice, ½ tablespoon mustard and stock, ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
  9. Add potatoes to baking tray. Submerge the potatoes in the juices from the meat until they are at least half covered. Add water if needed.
  10. Cover with foil and return to oven for 1 hour. 11. Remove foil and return to oven for 1 hour.

Tips

  • Be generous on the spices.
  • Don’t be scared to taste and add more of all the spices or more lemon

Tzatziki

We make our tzatziki all in house at Stalactites. This includes hanging the yoghurt overnight to strain the water out of it so it’s nice and thick. We make over 1.5 tonnes of tzatziki a week but have adapted the recipe to a small manageable quantity that you can make very quickly.

Ingredients

  • 300 gr Thick Greek Yoghurt
  • Strained 3 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • 1 x Small Lebanese Cucumber
  • Grated Sea Salt to taste
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • ½ tsp Vinegar

Method

  1. Wash and cut cucumbers in half. Do not peel. Remove seeds if any and grate the cucumbers.
  2. Place in a sieve to drain liquid into a bowl. Squeeze out any excess liquid by placing cucumber in a tea towel and wringing it.
  3. In a separate bowl add strained yoghurt, crushed garlic and vinegar. Add the strained cucumbers to the yoghurt, oil, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Adjust salt and add extra garlic to taste if required.
  4. Store in fridge.

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