#2: Albania

I really didn’t know a lot about Albania prior to cooking this meal, so I found the national dish of Albania: Tave Kosi. It is a yogurt and lamb casserole. Hold on! Before you go anywhere: I agree. It sounds a little weird, but it was actually a favorite in our household.

Time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients (2 servings):

1/2 lbs lamb (or meat of your choice)

2-3 tbsp butter

1-2 tbsp flour

1/8 cup of rice

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 cups Greek yogurt (depending on size of dish)

2 eggs

Oregano

Mint

Salt and Pepper to taste

Meat and Rice:

Preheat the oven to 350oF.

Cut your meat into 1-1 1/2″ cubes.

Line your baking dish with some butter or oil and place your lamb in the dish. Bake the lamb for 45 minutes.

While your lamb is in the oven, grab a small pot and boil water.

Add your rice and cook until it is soft on the outside and slightly crunchy on the inside. Strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

When the lamb is done, remove it from the oven and set it aside. You can leave your oven on since you will be baking again soon.

Roux:

If you don’t know, a roux is a French term for a mixture of fat and flour. It is often used for making things like gravy or a cream sauce because it thickens things nicely. In this recipe, we will be using butter and flour.

Melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Once it’s heated, you can whisk in your garlic and oregano until fragrant and slightly browned. Whisk in your flour, stirring constantly for 1 minute to prevent burning and cook out the raw flour.

Once it is cooked down, add the liquids from your cooked lamb.

Yogurt Sauce:

Allow the roux to cool for 5 minutes or until it is just warmer than room temperature before performing this step.

Whisk in your yogurt and beaten eggs. Your sauce should be slightly runny.

Put it all together:

In your baking dish, spread your lamb evenly.

Sprinkle rice all over to get an even coat.

Pour your yogurt sauce over the lamb and rice.

Cut up 1 tbsp of butter into small cubes and place around the top of the yogurt.

Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Allow the dish to cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle the mint over top.

The completed dish.

Rating:

Ingredients: ★★★★☆ (4/5) 

Everything was relatively easy to find and could be found at our local Walmart. The only thing we needed from Wegmans was the lamb.

Time: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

Although it took about an hour and a half, about half of that time was waiting for the lamb to bake and the rice to cook. Nothing was too difficult or labor intensive.

Taste: ★★★★★ (5/5)

“I would definitely make it again” – my partner, Meaghan. As I mentioned in the previous post, I am not a huge fan of lamb. But I liked it in this dish! It honestly surprised me how good it was and how it came together in a fluffy, egg-y, rich casserole.

Price (per serving) (each $ is $5 increments): $$ (2/5)

Everything was rather reasonable! The only thing that puts this a little higher was the lamb, the Greek yogurt, and maybe the mint (although we had frozen some mint from our garden), which brought the price up a little bit.

We completed this dish in January 2021. 

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