Tavë Kosi is the the national dish of Albania, though popular throughout the Balkans in Spring. It’s a dish of lamb and rice baked into a yogurt-egg mixture. The yogurt kind of rises up and solidifies into a quiche-like texture. Don’t use flavored yogurt, whatever you do! Try a plain yogurt (not Vanilla either). The yogurt will tend to overpower this dish with an intense flavor, so we adapted it by adding some crushed garlic and oregano.
- 1 1/2 pounds lamb leg or shoulder
- salt, to taste
- freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 Cup butter
- 2 Tablespoons rice
- 2 Tablespoons oregano leaves, fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon; garlic, crushed
- 2 pounds yogurt
- 5 eggs; beaten
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- Cut meat into 4 serving pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot with 1/4 Cup butter and bake at 350 degrees with the oregano and garlic, basting now and then with pan juices, about 40 minutes, or until well browned. Stir rice into pan juices. Remove baking pan from oven and set aside while preparing yogurt sauce.
- Combine yogurt with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in eggs until smooth. Set aside.
- Melt remaining 1/2 Cup butter and add flour. Saute until smooth. Add yogurt mixture and stir until smooth. Pour yogurt sauce in baking pan, stirring it with meat pieces, and bake at 375 degrees 45 minutes. Serve hot.
Each of 6 servings: 519 calories, 444 mg sodium, 305 mg cholesterol, 44 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams protein, 0 fiber
NOTES : Recipe adapted from "The Best of Albanian Cooking" by Klementina and R. John Hysa (Hippocrene Books)
In the fairness of full disclosure, we must say this was hardly our favorite lamb dish. The yogurt truly overpowered the original and was barely tolerable with our little ‘solution’.