Monday, December 23, 2013

NEW RECIPE: Greek Lamb Wellington

© Constantine William Spyrou

Holidays are the perfect time to get together with friends, have fun, and cook amazing special occasion dishes. These dishes are ones you want to really go all out on. Take it to the five-star level. Doing that wows guests, family, and sometimes, even yourself. Having a set of special occasion dishes in your cooking repertoire is something great to have, and something everyone should look into, especially for the holidays. 

That special, fine-dining level holiday kick is exactly what I was looking for in this recipe. I wanted to merge together my favorite things about Christmas: lamb, spanakopita, and avgolemono soup. These are all classic Greek holiday treats, and together form a great full course holiday meal. I decided to merge all of these together into one sublime, five-star level dish: stuffing the lamb and spinach inside of phyllo dough, wellington style, and serving it with an avgolemono sauce. This provides all of the great Greek flavors, served in a British style presentation. It'll be a definite and interesting treat for sure! 

Recipe will serve 4.

For the lamb: 

6 sheets phyllo dough
Olive oil to brush on the phyllo and sear the lamb.
1 1-pound lamb tenderloin
Salt and pepper to season
1/4 cup olive oil (for the marinade)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
2 teaspoons dried oregano

For the spinach filling:

1/2 pound sauteed spinach (press all the water out of it! This is crucial.)
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dill
Salt and pepper to season

For the avgolemono sauce: 

2 cups chicken stock
Juice of 2 lemons
2 eggs, whisked
Salt and pepper to season


1. Combine the marinade ingredients: Olive oil, mint, oregano, and lemon juice. Set aside.
2. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, and sear on all sides with olive oil on a high heat. When each side is colored, let the lamb rest (it should not be fully cooked!). Brush it with the marinade on all sides as soon as it comes out of the pan.
3. While the lamb cools, combine the pressed sauteed spinach, feta cheese, nutmeg, garlic, salt and pepper, and dill. Let sit for a few minutes, and make sure to press any excess water out of this mix.
4. Layer each sheet of phyllo dough down onto some plastic wrap. Brush each sheet with olive oil before adding on the next sheet. Repeat for all of the sheets.
5. Add a layer of spinach (no more than 1/2 inch thick) onto the phyllo dough. Place on the lamb, and roll up the phyllo dough so everything is encased inside. It should be sealed in the bottom layer of plastic wrap. Roll and tighten up the phyllo dough until everything is encased inside, almost like a sausage. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let firm.
6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Take the lamb wellington out of the fridge, and let it come up to room temperature. Lightly brush the top with olive oil and a light sprinkle of water to keep the phyllo dough from completely separating.
7. Bake the lamb in the oven for about 30 minutes to achieve a medium rare.
8. While the lamb is in the oven, make the avgolemono sauce. Combined the chicken stock and lemon together in a sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk in the egg slowly (but whisk fast!), then add salt and pepper to taste. The egg will lightly thicken the sauce.
8. Let the lamb rest for about 15 minutes before serving. Cut into portions, and serve with the sauce drizzled over the top.

This has a great balance of flavors and textures, which is what any high-scale dish should achieve. It has citrus and tang from the lemon and feta in the wellington, richness and gameyness from the lamb, and crunch from the crisp phyllo dough. It really is a great take on Greek classics.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

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