i had a fabulously long lunch at hellenic republic in brunswick, melbourne early jan 2017.
not only did i nearly make new best friends with the server, i experienced the most mouth watering lamb (arni sto fourno) i have ever had – melt in your mouth, cut with a spoon kind of tender. i had the carrot salad, which is far too humble of a description for what blasted me with flavours of cumin, basil and honey. and the saganaki – well there isnt much in the world thats better than a hot, textural, and salty cheese with figs.
my replication of the dishes took a few creative liberties based on what i had available – but i was super pleased… they were delicious… and they took me right back to my seat in that brunswick restaurant on a 35 deg day, where i downed delicious mythos lager and went on my first, and immensely memorable, greek food journey.
the lamb needs a looooong time to cook – but there isn’t a lot of physical kitchen time with this recipe.
all you need is to plan in advance!
for the lamb
1kg lamb shoulder
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
8 shallots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tblsp oregano
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 lemon, zest only
400g natural yoghurt
4tblsp honey (i used j friend and co wild thyme)
500ml white wine
for the carrots
12 medium sized carrots
2 tblsp toasted cumin seeds
1 tblsp honey (i used j friend and co wild thyme)
1 tblsp butter
1x butternut pumpkin
2 tblsp cream
for the cheese with chilli apricots
6x fresh apricots
1tsp chilli flakes
1tsp coconut sugar
pre-heat oven to 120deg C.
- for the lamb, sear in a hot pan until caramelised all over. add to roast pan with all other ingredients. cover, and put in oven for 4-5hrs. the lamb is cooked when its falling off the bone and you can cut it with a spoon.
- remove it from the oven when cooked and let sit in the juices until cooled.
- move to the fridge until near serving.
pre-heat oven to 180deg C.
when an hour away from serving, start the carrots.
- for the carrots, cut the pumpkin into chunks, season with salt and put into the oven until caramelised and soft.
- when the pumpkin is cooked, remove the skin. puree with a stick blender. add the cream and combine. season as required. set aside to serve.
- prep the carrots by washing them and slice in half.
- when ready to cook the carrots (about 45mins from serving the lamb), heat fry pan on hot, oil and add the carrots. fry until the carrots caramelise and soften. add honey and butter and toss in the pan to coat. add the cumin seeds and set aside.
- for the chilli apricots, slice the apricots into 8 pieces. Add to a pot and add 1 tblsp water. Heat until softened (but doesn’t lose their shape). Add the sugar & chilli. Set aside.
- to finalise the lamb, while the apricots are cooking, sear off the lamb. heat a fry pan to high heat. remove the lamb from the fridge and cut into big chunks. sear off until hot and caramelised.
(if you want to create a jus as well, use the cooking juices from the lamb, add to a pot and then simmer until reduced)
- to finalise the cheese eat a smaller fry pan to high heat. oil the pan and add the cheese. fry until golden and soft.
putting it all together
- warm the pumpkin puree, add to the bottom of a serving plate. add the basil to the carrots and toss. top the pumpkin puree with the carrots.
- leave the hot cheese on the frypan, top with the apricots.
- move the lamb to a hot serving plate and add some fresh lemon segments to serve.
enjoy! I did!