As I am writing this post, it’s nearly time for Greek (Orthodox) Easter. Which means it’s time for lamb meat. Lots and lots of lamb meat. And it’s not just your regular chops, leg, or shoulder you’ll be getting here either (and forget about perfectly Frenched little chops!). Around Easter time, Greeks like to consume their lamb whole. And whole means whole. This includes intestines, heart, liver, kidney and lungs – or lamb pluck as it’s more vaguely referred to – which you will usually find wrapped around a stick and roasted for a dish called kokoretsi, or boiled with greens and fresh herbs for a traditional Easter soup called magiritsa. If you are interested in a more traditional lamb pluck dish, there are two recipes for magiritsa on this website already (here and here).
Having said that, you’re probably here because you wanted to do something different with your lamb pluck – assuming you are even one of the people who eats it at all and found this recipe here because you were Googling for ‘ways to cook lamb pluck’ and not because you found this post by accident. Below, you will find a recipe for lamb pluck risotto, which I made a couple of times when I too wanted something different. This dish is perfect for those cold wintery days preceding Easter or any other day you are looking for some comfort food that will keep you warm and satisfied. If you are into eating offal and hearty, filling, rich foods, this lamb pluck risotto is simply stunning.
Lamb Pluck Risotto / Risotto con Coratella di Agnello
- 400g lamb pluck (liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, etc.)
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 small onion
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 300g Arborio rice
- 150ml dry white wine
- 1.2l good chicken-, or vegetable broth
- 40g knob of butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Prepare the lamb pluck and vegetables: Cut all the meat into 3 cm pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Finely chop the celery stalk, small onion and carrot and keep aside separate from the meat.
- Cook the meat: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over high heat. Fry the meat until cooked through and nicely browned on all sides. Remove from pan onto a plate and chop the cooked meat into tiny pieces. You can choose to reserve some larger chunks to serve on top of the risotto for aesthetical reasons. Set chopped meat aside until later use.
- Sauté the soffritto: Turn the heat down to medium-high and add one tablespoon of oil to the same pan you’ve used for the meat. Add the chopped celery, onion, carrot, fresh thyme and rosemary. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetables turn a little bit soft, but don’t let them brown.
- Toast the rice in the pan: Add the Arborio rice to the pan with the vegetables and stir to coat with the oils for a minute or two.
- Add the wine to the rice and vegetables and cook while stirring until the liquid is fully absorbed. The wine should sizzle when you pour it in!
- Meanwhile, heat the chicken-, or vegetable broth to a low simmer. Keep it simmering during cooking.
- Gradually add the hot stock: When the wine is fully absorbed, add a ladle of hot vegetable broth to the rice. Cook and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice looks almost dry, add another ladle of broth and repeat the process for about 20 - 30 minutes until the rice is cooked. Stir frequently, but not continuously.
- Return chopped lamb pluck to the pan:Before adding the final ladle of hot broth, return the chopped lamb pluck to the pan and stir to combine. Pour in the final ladle of hot broth and continue cooking and stirring until all ingredients are well combined. The rice should be tender, but still slightly firm (al dente) and the risotto should be gooey and velvety. If you run out of stock before the risotto is done, finish the risotto by using some hot water instead.
- Add butter: When the risotto is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and vigorously stir in the knob of butter to create a creamy, velvety texture. You want the risotto to be oozy, so if necessary add a little bit of hot water, or some leftover stock if you have any. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
- Serve: Ladle risotto onto plates, sprinkle on some finely chopped flat leaf parsley. Serve immediately.