Prep 45 mins
Cook 4 hrs 15 mins
Arni Gemisto Me Horta Ke Feta from "The Foods of the Greek Islands Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean" by Aglaia Kremezi, this Andros recipe is generally made with a whole baby lamb. The instructions are long but it is not hard to make and, in fact, you do the stuffing the night before (or in the morning) and then there is just the roasting to be done before dinner. Prep time includes 30 minjutes for cooling down the stuffing and three hours for chilling the stuffed lamb (the minimum).
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed (fronds and tender stalks reserved)
- 1 1⁄2 cups thinly sliced scallions (white and most of the green parts)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, quartered
- 1 1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped mixed greens (such as baby spinach, tender Swiss chard leaves, miner's lettuce, pea shoots, outer leaves of escaro)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, freshly ground (or crushed in a mortar)
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup of fresh mint, chopped
- 1⁄2-4 lb leg of lamb, butterflied
- 1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled)
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine, plus more if needed
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fennel leaves, plus tender stalks (or fresh dill or a combination)
- In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the fennel bulb over medium heat until just tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add the scallions and chopped garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more.
- Add the greens and sauté, stirring, until wilted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the fennel seeds and pepper to taste.
- Let cool, then add the mint.
- Make 8 small slits randomly in the lamb and insert the garlic quarters.
- Transfer half of the greens mixture to a small bowl.
- Add the cheese to the greens remaining in the skillet.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt if necessary (feta is usually quite salty).
- NOTE: The stuffing should be completely cooled before being spread on the lamb. Spread the cheese mixture on the lamb, squeezing it to extract the excess juices; add some of the remaining greens if needed; the lamb should be well covered.
- Roll and tie the lamb.
- Rub the lamb all over with the remaining greens.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Scrape the greens off the surface of the lamb and reserve.
- Brush the lamb with oil and sprinkle with the oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Place the lamb in a roasting pan that just holds it comfortably, preferably a clay or Pyrex one.
- Roast for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a boil and simmer for 1 minute.
- Add the reserved greens.
- Pour the greens mixture over the lamb and roast for 5 minutes more. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and roast the lamb, basting frequently with the pan juices, adding a little more wine to the pan if necessary, for about 30 minutes longer, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 135°F for medium.
- Remove the lamb from the oven, sprinkle with the chopped fennel or dill, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Carve the lamb and serve, passing the pan juices in a bowl or sauceboat at the table.