Traditional Pascha (Easter) Lamb Dinner
Submitted by Nelson Cognac, chef/owner of Cognac Bistro in Brookline and Kouzina in Waban. He picks up his copy of Edible Boston at Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline. My wife and partner is Greek and she inspired this recipe I am sharing with you. Our spring lamb is always at Pascha, the Greek word for Easter. While the tradition usually involves roasting a whole lamb on the spit, you can also create this dinner using lamb chops. The final product is a classic combination of lamb, spanakopita (spinach pie), and tzatziki.
8 lamb chops 1 tablespoon mustard 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped 2 shallots, minced
Marinate the lamb for at least 12 hours. You can either saute in olive oil or grill at medium heat. Cook until medium rare, and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving with:
4 ounces butter 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 bunches scallions, chopped fine 2 1/2 pounds spinach, washed, stemmed, and chopped 1/2 cup dill, chopped 1 pound feta cheese 4 eggs 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 package phyllo dough Wax paper
Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt the butter and mix with the olive oil. Let cool to room temperature. Mix all remaining ingredients (except phyllo) in a separate bowl. Remove phyllo dough from the package and cut it in half so you have 9 x 12 inch sheets. While you are working, keep the phyllo dough covered with wax paper and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
Layer about 10 sheets of phyllo on the bottom of a baking pan, and brush with the butter/oil mix. Sprinkle the spinach mixture in an even layer on top of the phyllo dough. Repeat this process until all of the filling is used up and top with a final layer of phyllo. Score top and cut into 3 x 4 inch squares. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
16 ounces Greek yogurt 1 cucumber 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
Peel cucumber, remove seeds, grate, and strain. Mix all ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight before serving.