Arni Frikase

April 16, 2009 · 27 comments

in dairy-free,greek,lamb


Well, I hate to break it to you after all this time, but I’m sorry to say that I’m a heathen.

Here I am, smack in the middle of Holy Week, where even those people who eat meat during the rest of lent typically fast, and I’m eating lamb. Yes, this is the week before Orthodox Easter and not only am I eating meat, but I’m eating lamb! I should be waiting for the delicious lamb on a spit that I will be eating plenty of come Sunday. But can you ever really have too much lamb? Meh, not in my book.

Arni Frikase or lamb fricassee is a very traditional Greek dish of stewed lamb with greens in egg lemon (avgolemono) sauce.  Now, of course, there are many versions and interpretations of this dish, just as there are any other dish.  Typically, though, the greens are romaine lettuce (marouli), but if you prefer spinach or mustard greens, or something else entirely, by all means use any combination of greens.  Many people make this with green onions, but I prefer the flavor of leeks so I use them instead. This is often made with bone-in lamb or chops and while it is definitely delicious that way, I used some lamb I had in my freezer (stew meat from the shoulder).

I suggest serving this with some fresh bread to sop up all the avgolemono and a village (horiatiki) salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta, olives, and oregano with a few drizzles of red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Or, you could just serve it with some pilaf.  Or what the hell, all three since we are being evil, anyway.

I’m hoping to  have some updates for you next week, after returning from Michigan. Sorry for the sporadic posts as of late. To all my Orthodox peeps, Happy Easter and to the Greeks Kalo Pascha/Christos Anesti!

Arni Frikase

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2 Tbsp. olive oil
1.5 lbs. boneless lamb, cut into 1-2″ pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
2 leeks, sliced
1 handful (2-3 Tbsp, chopped) dill
1.25 cups water
1 large head romaine lettuce (I actually used 2.5 hearts), chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons – I actually use a little bit more because I like it lemony)

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat a dutch oven/pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the oil and when it’s hot, add the lamb and brown. Stir in the onions, leeks and dill and cook until they begin to soften and turn golden.

Add the water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer about an hour or as long as you want for the lamb to get tender. Check periodically to make sure there is enough liquid.

Add the lettuce and cover again. Allow the lettuce to wilt down into the mixture, stirring occationally. Remove from heat.

Whisk the eggs together with the lemon juice. Add spoonfuls of the liquid from the lamb into the egg-lemon mixture, whisking continuously to be sure the eggs don’t scramble. Then, add the egg-lemon/broth mixture back into the pot, stirring again. Season to taste if necessary.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Kanella April 16, 2009 at 9:14 pm

I need to stop drooling. I have a feeling if Jesus was presented with this dish, he would even break the Holy Week fast. Kali Anastasi!


Alissa April 16, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Have a blessed Holy Week and Paska.


nina April 16, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I have always wanted to try the avgolemono and your recipe has just inspired me!!! Looks “sinful”!!!


Peter G April 17, 2009 at 2:05 am

Love it Elly..especially the use of leeks! have a Great Easter and all the best!


Kiki April 17, 2009 at 4:00 am

Ellh! Teleio to fagito sou! It looks so good! Kalo Pasxa!


Elizabeth Pentheroudaki April 17, 2009 at 9:20 am

Kali Anastasi Elly !
Have a great Easter !


truenorth67 April 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Ahahaha, Heathen…you’re going to Hell…do not pass GO, do not collect $200- go to HELL!

The fricasse looks fabulous…great photo, plating and I can’t wait to dig into some lamb on Sunday.

Kali Anastasi!


Maria April 18, 2009 at 7:35 am

That looks delicious Elly!
Kali Anastasi!


burpexcuzme April 18, 2009 at 9:27 am

hello, heathen, haha~ at least you know your mouth is praising you! that looks outrageously delicious, and I never even liked lamb! now I really want to find myself some! just have to forget those pics of cute white fluffy lambs…


giz April 19, 2009 at 10:17 am

Happy Easter Elly – is that appropriate to say Happy Easter? I always thought Easter was such a solemn holiday.


joelen April 20, 2009 at 10:11 am

I love lamb and I wouldn’t have thought to pair it with avgolemono. Hope you have a wonderful Easter!


Kerstin April 20, 2009 at 9:36 pm

The lamb looks super delicious Elly! I love all the dill in it!


Juliana April 23, 2009 at 2:16 pm

WOW, I am not into lamb, but your recipe and the pictures are very tempting.


Cynthia Nelson April 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Hey Elly, I’m glad that I’m not the only heathen :)


Erin April 23, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Elly! I live like a block from Harvest Time!!! You must live super close to me now. My husband and I promised each other we could see Old 97’s live next weekend if we promised not to go out this weekend, but soon we’ll have to meet up. Maybe for Greek?


Donald April 24, 2009 at 8:05 am

I never realized it, but I too, am a heathen. Maybe we should start a support group?

That lamb looks delicious. I have put this on the to do list.


maria April 25, 2009 at 12:44 am

well, greeks always celebrate two easters when the greek one falls on another day, so let’s just say yu were having an in-between period!
hope easter was good for you – it was a nice happy peaceful time for us

let’s spring into springtime for now and await the good weatehr in the summer


Kevin April 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Lamb stew with avgolemono sounds really good!


Efe October 8, 2009 at 10:28 am

hey hey neighbour!… greetings from Turkey!
im just an admirer (both to eat and to cook) of eastern mediterranean cuisine and I want to say is this dish is awesome!

I learned arni frikase from my great grandmother, she migrated from macedonia to smyrna during the war.. naturally she brought up the culture of her homeland, used to cook this dish occasionaly.

I also tired the receipt written in ‘mediterranean cuisine’ by some woman who actually couldn’t perceive the mentality of mediterranean culinary it was a complete fail..
adding leeks is a great idea because that is also a kind of onion after all… thank you for your receipt..

PS: if you like leeks, try vichysoisse soup…

all the best!


elly October 8, 2009 at 11:03 am

Hi Efe! Thank you for the comment, and I’m glad you liked the dish!


Alice February 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

I made this last night for my husband and he flipped out! We eat avgolemono soup all the time but hadn’t tried it as a sauce over meat yet. So simple and delicious and the house smelled wonderful while it simmered! Served it over orzo and with some evil pita :)


elly February 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Alice, I am so happy you and your husband enjoyed it! It’s one of our favorites. Avgolemono goes so well over everything in my opinion. :)


Marla @ 180turning30 January 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I went bananas over this recipe! The dill, the lemon, the leeks, the lemon; I could just go on and on. Much as I adore them, I’d always assumed that avgolemono sauces were really difficult to make and your awesome recipe proved me completely wrong. I can’t wait to make it again!


elly January 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

So glad you liked it, Marla!


Jessikah April 3, 2016 at 12:20 am

Hi thanks for the recipe ! I’m making it tonight April 2, n wanted to let u know ur not alone! I’m also eating lamb! Lol I’m warming up for Pasxa! Lol After all it makes more sense rather than fasting 40 days n then pigging out on so much food like we Greeks do, shocking our system! Don’t u think ? Lol ;)
Kalo Pasxa, Happy Easter n thanks for the recipe ❤️


elly April 3, 2016 at 11:03 am

Haha totally agree, Jessikah. :) Hope you enjoyed the frikase!


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