Lamb Pie, Ioannina Style

Course : Greek
Serves: 10
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2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 medium onion -- chopped
1 1/2 pounds lean lamb -- (pref.leg), ground
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon -- (or more)
1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup tomato sauce or puree diluted w/ water and warmed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 slices toast -- (thin)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 large eggs -- lightly beaten
3/4 cup grated mizithra and kefalotyri
12 sheets commercial filo sheets
6 tablespoons butter -- melted

Preparation / Directions:

In a frying pan, heat the 2 tablespoons butter and cook the onion until translucent. Add the lamb and cook gently, while mashing and stirring with a fork until the raw color disappears. Season the meat with cinnamon, salt, pepper, then stir in the tomato sauce and parsley. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes. (This much can be cooked a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.) Meanwhile, soak the toast slices in the milk to make a soft mixture, and add to the meat along with the eggs and cheese. Mix the filling with a wooden spoon, taste, and add more cinnamon if you like. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 12 x 3 inch baking pan. Spread 6 filo sheets, brushing melted butter in between the sheets, making sure the pastry fits the sides and bottom of the pan. Pour in the filling, spreading evenly with a spatula. Cover with the remaining 6 filo sheets, brushing with butter as before. Flute the edges with two fingers or a fork and brush the top with butter. Using a sharp knife, score the top 3 filo sheets into square or diamond shapes. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes in a moderately slow oven (325F), raising the temperature to 350F during the last 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut into diamonds or squares and serve warm.

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