Greek Easter, foodwise, is probably most associated with whole lambs turning on the spit. Evidently our first choice for today's recipe is going to be lamb, but we may not all be in a position to have our own spit or a place to set it up in. Thus we will be ending our Greek island Easter break with this lamb recipe that is especially popular on the Greek islands, and in particular on Mytiline (Lesbos). A similar version but in which the stuffing contains also minced meat and tomato is found on Kalymnos island, where it is known as 'Mouri'.
If you don't want to tackle a lamb torso you can use the same stuffing recipe below (about half the quantity) to stuff a leg of lamb - ask your butcher to debone it if necessary. Cooking time will be greatly reduced (2 - 3 hours depending on size).
Since not everyone is keen on liver, I have used bacon instead - not particularly traditional but a very tasty alternative.
Wash the lamb, pat dry and rub with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Fry the bacon or lamb in 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Remove and in the same oil cook the onion until softened and light brown. Boil the rice for 10 - 15 minutes until it is not quite cooked then drain and add to the frying pan. Sauté for 2 minutes.
Add oil to a depth of about 1½ cm in a separate deep frying pan and fry the potato, stirring now and again to achieve even browning. Remove and drain. Cook the bread in the same oil in the same way and when uniformly golden brown remove and drain. Add the potato and bread to the pan with the rice, together with the currants, pine nuts and sugar and continue to sauté for 1 minute before adding ½ glass water. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes then remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
Stuff the lamb with the mixture and 'sew' it up using metal skewers or toothpicks (or with a trussing needle and thread/cooking string).
Place the stuffed lamb on a large deep baking sheet or pan and spread the mustard over the top.
Cover with kitchen foil and bake in a slow oven at 100o C (220o F, Gas Mark ¼) for at least 6 hours, then uncover and continue to cook until done and golden brown on top.
Slow cooking gives a more succulent lamb but if you are 'in a hurry' you can cook at 200o C (400o F, Gas Mark 6) for about 4 hours - depending on the size of the lamb. If only using a leg of lamb, reduce cooking times accordingly.
Kalo Pascha! - GRR Recipes wishes you all a Happy Easter!
Next week we will be back on our Mediterranean GRR Recipe voyage - next stop, Egypt!