Saturday, 26 March 2011

Lamb 'Abritzi'

My dad introduced me to this dish a few years ago, and I've absolutely loved it since. I hadn't experimented much with lamb, as it seemed to me you could only eat it after hours of cooking, or in tiny morsels from a quickly-grilled chop. But this dish was a revelation! I've spelled the name the way my dad says it, but I suspect that it's from the Abruzzo region of Italy; however the only lamb dishes I could find from that region were the aforementioned slow-cooking stews. This is anything but! It's very fast, and the lemony garnish contrasts beautifully with the earthy rare lamb.


  • 300g of fillet or boneless rump of lamb
  • plain flour
  • olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small green peppers
  • 10 green olives
  • one lemon

Slice the lamb into wide strips about 5 mm thick: about as thinly as you can without making any holes in the meat. Toss the pieces around in plain flour until they are thoroughly coated, and shake off the excess. Heat a heavy-based non-stick pan to a moderately high heat, and add some olive oil. When it shimmers, but before it smokes, add a few pieces of lamb. Cook until golden and sealed on one side (slightly less than 1 minute) then flip and cook on the other side for half the time. Cook in batches, shaking off excess oil and setting on a plate without kitchen paper.

Meanwhile, roughly dice the green pepper and quarter the green olives, lengthwise. Juice the lemon into a small bowl. When the lamb is done, wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and add a little olive oil to the pan. Gently sautee the chopped pepper for about five minutes, until slightly softened and a little caramelised around the edges. Return the lamb and any juices (which should be pinkish-red, not clear) to the pan, and add the lemon juice and olives. Turn the heat off and allow to heat through, giving a good grating of black pepper and a little salt. Toss and serve with crusty bread or brown rice.

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