Like a crunchy deconstructed gyro.
Don’t get us wrong, we like nachos as much, nay, more than the next person but variety is the spice of life. What better way to give the chip/meat/cheese/sauce combo than take it on a trip through the Mediterranean? No better way, that’s what. Go ahead and use beef if you can’t find ground lamb or don’t like the flavor. You can also save some time by using pre-made olive tapenade, but we suggest trying to make it at least once; it’s easy and the results taste much fresher.
Equipment Needed: 2 Baking Sheets, Frying Pan, Mixing Bowl, Wooden Spoon, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Basting Brush (or) Pastry Brush, Microplane
Serving Suggestion: Family Style
Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
Suggested Beer Pairing: Lager, Pale Ale
- 1 lb ground lamb ($6.99/lb)
- 1 medium red onion ($1.29/lb)
- 8 oz feta cheese ($4.39/8 oz)
- 2-3 C tzatziki sauce (About $5/16 oz tub or make your own)
- 10 whole wheat pita pockets (about $1.29/6 pack)
- 1/2 lb pitted olives ($5.99/lb)
- 4 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
- 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
- 2 TBSP fresh rosemary (about $1.99/sprig)
- 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil, divided ($8.99/32 oz)
- 1 TBSP ground oregano ($2/2 oz jar)
- 1 TBSP ground cumin ($3.50/2 oz jar)
Olive Tapenade Preparation:
- Finely dice the olives and toss them in your bowl or container.
Dice them small but don't mince them into mush.
- Zest in the skin of the lemon, then squeeze in the juice. Be careful not to get any seeds in.
Stop when you hit the pith (the white part) to avoid bitterness.
- Mince the rosemary and toss it in the mix. Peel your garlic and turn it into a paste by sprinkling about a teaspoon of salt on top and repeatedly pressing it with the edge of your chef’s knife. Throw it in with the rest.
We grow our own.
- Crack about a tablespoon of fresh black pepper in, pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and give it a good stir to make sure everything is well-distributed. Adjust your flavors as you see fit and let the mix sit in the fridge for about an hour to let the flavors meld before you use it.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Take your pitas and cut them into eighths. Pull the halves apart so each piece becomes two chips. Place the triangles in a single layer on your baking sheets, brush them with olive oil and give them a good sprinkle of salt. Put them in the oven for 5 minutes or until crisp. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
Don’t saturate them, a light basting will do.
- While the chips are baking dice your onion and mince the 3 cloves of garlic. Remove the chips when they’re done.
- Put the frying pan over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook them down for about 5 minutes.
- Toss in the lamb and season it with the cumin, oregano and a good dose of salt and pepper. Break up all the meat and cook it through, stirring occasionally (about 8 minutes).
Lamb gives the whole shebang a richer flavor.
- Drain as much of the fat off as you can and spread the meat evenly across the pita chips. Crumble the feta on top of that and pop the baking sheets back in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Pull the nachos out, spread tzatziki and tapenade across the top and devour.
Posted in Recipes
Tagged appetizer, baked, feta cheese, lamb, lemons, Mediterranean, olives, onions, oven, pita bread, snack, stove top
It's one big hug for your stomach.
This is easily one of our top five favorite comfort foods; we always go back for seconds. For our inaugural recipe we used homegrown carrots and took a couple of liberties with the fillings. Dark beer helps add flavor and complexity to the dish while peas provide substance and sweetness.
Equipment Needed: Casserole Dish, Frying Pan, Wooden Spoon, 3 QT Pot, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Potato Masher, Serving Spoon
Serving Suggestion: Family Style
Suggested Wine Pairing: Old Vine Zinfandel, Malbec, Chianti, Cabernet Franc
Suggested Beer Pairing: Stout, Porter, Brown Ale
- 2 lbs potatoes ($0.99/lb)
- 1 lb ground lamb ($5.99/lb)
- 1 C frozen peas ($1/10 oz)
- 2 medium carrots (we used the fresh crop from Momma Brown’s garden; $1.99/lb)
- 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
- 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
- 2 TBSP fresh rosemary ($1.50/bunch)
- 1 1/2 C dark beer (we used a Lexington Brewing Company Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout; price varies)
- 1 TBSP light brown sugar ($1.39/lb)
- 1 TBSP smoked paprika ($4.50/2.3 oz jar)
- 1 beef bouillon cube ($1/2.3 0z package)
- 3 TBSP corn starch ($1.89/16 oz)
- 1-2 TSP cayenne pepper ($3/2 oz jar)
- 2 TBSP butter ($4.99/lb)
- 1/4 C milk ($1.19/QT)
- Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel and wash the potatoes and cut into 2 inch chunks. Toss those spuds in your pot, cover them with water, bring to a boil and keep them there until you can slide a fork in them without resistance (about 30 minutes)
- Put your frying pan over medium-low heat and coat the bottom with olive oil.
- Mince the garlic cloves and the rosemary, add to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes until it starts to brown lightly. Add the ground lamb, cayenne, paprika, and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. Cook the lamb until it’s about medium rare, stirring occasionally (should take about 6 minutes).
Mince the rosemary finely so no one ends up chewing giant pieces.
- While the lamb is cooking, dice the carrots and onion. Mix together the beer and the bouillon cube. As the meat starts to brown, reduce the heat to low and add the onions, peas and carrots.
Dice the carrots into bite-sized pieces.
- Cook for another 2 minutes and pour in the beer mix, brown sugar and corn starch, stir everything together and cook on low until the sauce thickens (10-15 minutes). Adjust the seasoning as necessary and when you’re satisfied pour it into the casserole dish.
Using a nice stout will help develop sweet and smoky gravy.
- When your potatoes are done, drain them, add your butter and milk and proceed to mash and whip until creamy.
Use fattier milks for richer potatoes.
- Spoon them over the top of the lamb mixture and cover it completely in an even layer. Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes have browned. Serve keep an eye out for wolves.
Spread the potatoes evenly over the top.
Extra Credit: If you so desire (and we do from time to time) top with a grated sharp cheddar or Parmagiano for an extra hit of richness.
If this doesn't look delicious, maybe it's time you started seeing other cooking teachers.
This exotic sounding variation on an all American classic is deceptively simple to make and even easier to eat. Lamb provides a richer, gamier flavor while herbs, spices and feta take your taste buds on a cruise through the Mediterranean. Serve with olives, designer sunglasses and plenty of chest hair.
Equipment Needed: Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Mixing Bowl, Frying Pan w/ Lid, Spatula
Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating
Suggested Wine Pairing: Rioja, Tempranillo, Merlot or Malbec
Suggested Beer Pairing: Brown Ales, Extra Special Bitter (ESB), Scotch Ales, Winter Ales
- 1lb. ground lamb ($4.99/lb)
- 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
- 1 tsp oregano (about $3/jar)
- 1 tsp ground cumin (about $3.50/jar)
- 1 small red onion ($1.50/lb)
- Boston or Red Leaf lettuce ($2.50/lb)
- Chunk feta cheese ($4/8 oz)
- Hamburger buns ($3/8 pack
- Tzatziki sauce (about $5/tub; yeah, we copped out on this one; we’ll teach you how to make your own in another lesson)
- Mince your garlic and throw it in your mixing bowl with the lamb, cumin and oregano. Add 1-2 tsps each of salt and pepper and mix it all together with your hands. (This is not only the easiest, but the most fun way to do it. Get over your raw meat hang ups and get on with it).
Get in there and mix it up.
- Grab about a fistful of meat and flatten it into a patty about 1/2 an inch thick. Now go wash your hands thoroughly with soap.
Form the patties evenly so they cook through in the same amount of time.
- Place the frying pan over medium heat and, once hot, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Put your burger patties in and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. About 2 minutes after you’ve flipped the burgers, put a big slice of feta on top and put the lid on the pan for the last couple of minutes.
Sound the alarms, it's a meltdown.
- Slip that meat in between a your buns (double entendre very intended). Slice the red onion thinly and dress your burger along with a couple of leaves of lettuce. Smear on tzatziki sauce to your heart’s content and enjoy.