Albanian Baked Lamb and Rice with Yogurt (Tavë Kosi)

  • Serves

    serves 8-10


Garlicky lamb and rice baked under a thick, tart veil of yogurt is a dish beloved throughout Albania. This recipe first appeared in our November 2013 issue with Francine Prose's story Eastern Promise.


  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, preferably Lucini brand
  • 2 lb. lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 13 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp. long grain white rice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped oregano
  • 4 cups plain yogurt
  • 18 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 eggs


Step 1

Heat 3 tbsp. butter and the oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper and toss with 1⁄4 cup flour. Working in batches, cook lamb, turning as needed, until browned, 10–12 minutes. Add rice, garlic, and 1⁄2 cup water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until rice is just tender, about 18 minutes. Stir in oregano, salt, and pepper and transfer to a 9" x 13" baking dish; set aside.

Step 2

Heat oven to 375°. Melt remaining butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in remaining flour; cook until smooth, 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in yogurt, nutmeg, eggs, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour yogurt sauce evenly over lamb mixture. Bake until golden and the lamb is tender, 45–60 minutes.