I’m not a food blogger. I like to eat, and I’m good at that, but writing about eating is a whole different skill set. A skill set I have not worked very hard at developing. And don’t get me started on food photography. I’m not even a beginner at beginning to learn that…
For those of you who haven’t been introduced, please meet your new favorite comfort food: Tavë Kosi. Simple, but rich, it has all the flavors you want during the colder months. I’ve been making this on the regular for quite some time now and it’s a favorite in my house; I was notified recently that after Peasant’s Cabbage and Bacon from Poland, this is my spouse’s top pick from this blog adventure.
2lb boned lamb shoulder, cut into 2in cubes ( I use beef, actually. Don’t tell anyone)
4 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp dried oregano
4.5 tbsp long-grain rice, rinsed
3.5 tbsp plain flour
2.5 cups Greek-style yogurt
4 eggs, beaten ( I used 5 this time. Why not?)
freshly grated nutmeg, to finish
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Heat 4.5 tbsp of the butter and the olive oil in a large lidded pan over a high heat. Brown the meat in batches, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.
Return all the meat to the pan. Add the garlic, oregano and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered with a lid, for about 45–60 minutes until the lamb is tender.
Stir in the rice, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 3 litre/5¼ pint earthenware or other ovenproof dish.
Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and make a roux, cook for 2 minutes, then take off the heat. Add the yogurt and mix well, then return to the heat and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat, add the beaten eggs and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the lamb and rice mixture, grate fresh nutmeg on top and bake for 40–45 minutes until starting to turn golden-brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. I serve it along with a simple salad with cucumbers and a light lemon vinaigrette.
With my reading choices sometimes limited by knowing only English, it was a pleasure to have quite a few options for this destination, even if they were almost all from one writer. It was without a doubt that I would delve into a novel by Ismail Kadare, a best-selling author in Albania since the 1960s, and someone who has had a big impact internationally for almost as long.
But with so many choices…you still have to make a choice. And I think I made the right one: Broken April. There’s not much I can add to the endless amounts of praise this book has received over the years, except to say that it deserves every word of it.
A melancholy story that takes place in an unidentified part of the 20th century, it unfolds like a fairy tale. Characters that are trapped by tradition, by family, by cycles that they are just part of and can’t control or escape. I don’t really want to say more, because you should experience this all for yourself. It’s well worth reading.
Country #22 is Albania! Looking forward to some good food, and some interesting reading.
Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania, is a country in Southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast. Wikipedia