Mindee and I quickly became obsessed with Mastello, a specialty on Sifnos Island.
Mastello is lamb cooked in wine for hours and to the point of melt-in-your-mouth tenderness
We ordered Mastello our first night on the island and for the next week never looked back, lunch or dinner, we were lovin it!
We were so impressed with our meal the first night, Mindee has decided to have her wedding reception here next summer (check out the rest our our meal here
What makes Mastello so special is the way it is cooked for hours in a clay pot.
For centuries potters have been making the cooking pots with clay from island.
I am assuming you do not have have a clay cooking pot, in which case, you can use an ovenproof pot with a lid.
Generally, I am not a meat eater. On the rare occasion that I do eat meat I like to know where it came from, like a nice small farm on Sifnos and not a cramped, stinky factory farm somewhere in the midwest.
Also, I do not like dry, chewy meat that has been thrown on a grill with no love at all. Just not interested. It must be tender, and melt in my mouth. Otherwise, what is the point? You have just slaughtered an animal only to cook it to a point where I don’t know if I’m eating bark or flesh.
This recipe will definitely remind you…
3 lbs of lamb cup into potion
3-5 cups of red wine, for washing and cooking
1 handful of dill
salt and pepper
Grape vine twigs for the base of pot
Wash the meat with a cup of red wine
Add salt and pepper to the meat
Rub very well with dill
Put the vine twigs in a cross grid in the bottom of the pot
Place the meat and 2 more cups of wine in your pot
Cover the pot with foil and prick with a fork
Cook for an hour at 390
Turn it down to 200 and continue cooking until melt-in-your-mouth-tender
Serve with crusty bread or boiled potatoes
These are great little guys for an appetizer and can be made ahead of time
I love the freshness of the mint with yogurt.
It adds a really nice refreshing contrast to the spicy lamb meatballs
Yogurt Dip was thrown together by me, I’ve never actaully measured actually, there’s no right/wrong way to make yogurt mint dip 🙂
Yields about 40 meatballs
1 cup yogurt
2 T Fresh mint chopped
salt and pepper to tast
(minced garlic or lemon to taste, optional)
Fort the meatballs:
2 Slices of white bread (I used 1 cup bread crumbs because that’s what I had on hand)
1 lb, ground lamb, grass fed and organic (please!)
3 green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 t cumin
1 t sweet paprika
1/4 t allspice
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven 400
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray
Tear crusts of bread and rip into pieces, place in a bowl with a little water and soak
Ina large bowl, combine the lamb, green onions, most of the parsley, the egg, and seasonings.
Mix well with your hands
Scoop into teaspoon size balls, roll between hands and place on sheet
Repeat, spacing about 2 inches apart
Cook for about 15 minutes until nice and brown. rotating the pan and turning the meatballs with a spatula to insure even cooking